This morning an application seeking an injunction on further demolition work was filed at the Ontario Divisional Court by lawyers on behalf of the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association (SLNA). This legal action names the City of Toronto as an interested party. As such we have provided the applicant’s lawyer with research and sworn affidavits that describe the factual background to support the interim and interlocutory injunctive relief restraining further demolition work at the Dominion Foundry Complex in the West Don Lands.
Exactly one week ago, the Province of Ontario deployed a demolition crew to the Foundry lands at 153-185 Eastern Avenue. They were preparing for heavy demolition work and despite multiple requests from the local community, the Chief Planner, the Mayor and myself as the local councillor to cease any further activity, the Province’s contractors accelerated their efforts. The demolition of 153 Eastern Avenue began this past Monday afternoon with damage to the south wall.
We maintain that notices of the proposed demolition or public consultation were never meaningfully published prior to the work.
As there was no development application, we see no legitimate reason why the four Foundry buildings would be recklessly destroyed, especially since the Province did not provide proof that they engaged in public consultation as required by their own heritage planning policies.
Further to this, the City of Toronto's Heritage Planning staff are not satisfied that the Government of Ontario had undertaken the necessary pre-requisite heritage impact and conservation planning work required under the Province’s Standards and Guidelines for Conservation of Provincial Heritage Properties (2010).
The application for an injunction requests that the Court stop the further demolition and allow time for the SNLA, the City of Toronto and other interested parties an opportunity to properly investigate the matter to determine at the very least whether the Ministry has engaged in the necessary historical assessments and public consultation processes.
The community has invested time and proposals into a holistic approach to this site, including affordable housing, performance and community spaces. Local voices help build complete communities.
I want to personally convey my sincerest gratitude to Suzanne Kavanagh of the St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association and Cindy Wilkey from the West Don Lands Committee for their tireless work and community leadership in bringing forward this legal action. They have been working around the clock with my office and this valuable collaboration is critical in our joint Community-City efforts to honour Ontario’s cultural heritage and to save the Foundry buildings.
The City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario remain in active discussions. We continue to seek a resolution where the Province pauses the demolition work, for which there is no known urgency so that the community and the City can have a reasonable opportunity to participate and make our views known on the project.