We have received many requests for an update on the Jaffari development application. Last week’s update provided the big picture on new projects planned for Thornhill Woods. This week we are providing a deeper dive into the latest Jaffari concept plan that was presented to us on August 14. We want to elaborate on our point of view and justify why this development application, when evaluated against the backdrop of other developments in our area, is bad for our community.
The City of Vaughan passed a resolution on May 5th giving the applicant until May 31to submit a revised concept plan and a July 10 deadline to submit a complete application. A revised concept plan/drawing was apparently shared with the city at the end of May and the city asked the applicant to make numerous changes. On July 9, the applicant submitted a letter indicating that they would not meet the July 10 deadline and that they were working on a completely new proposal. A new concept plan was submitted to the city and shared with PTWA on August 14.
The attached infographic contains their original application from October 2013, a revised concept plan from November 2014 and the latest concept plan that was shared with PTWA in August 2015. You will note that while the building heights have been reduced from two 17 floor towers to a 6 floor seniors and an 8 floor condo building, the total number of units has only been marginally reduced. The buildings are now shorter with a larger footprint to accommodate the same number of units and the number of townhouses remains at 61.
The heritage building has been moved but remains within the Jaffari property and is not accessible to the public. Parking has been slightly increased with the addition of a large above ground parking garage but we are still concerned that the mosque alone requires 1,600 parking spaces and a total parking capacity of 1,239 spaces for the proposed development is totally unrealistic for the size and scope of this development. We still have many unresolved concerns that have not been addressed about insufficient water, sewer, storm water drainage,electrical capacity, the effect this development will have on the natural ecosystem on the property and a lack of class-room spaces within our community’s public schools.
The biggest single issue is TRAFFIC. Ner Israel Drive and Apple Blossom remain the main entrances for the complex and we expect Thornhill Woods to be flooded with traffic. York Region has indicated that they will NOT allow another traffic light between Hwy 7 and Rutherford so the Bathurst Street entrance will be restricted to a right turns only. With the volume of cars and people DOUBLED, both the Ner Israel and Apple Blossom entrances will become JAMMED. Many visitors to Jaffari Village will try to avoid this mess and will clog up the adjoining streets with parking. Today, their parking is already gridlocked and we have observed that it takes cars at least 10-15 minutes to exit the facility during major events. Add in two buildings, townhouse and a new high school and traffic will be a MESS. Who would want their parents or grandparents living in the seniors buildings given the issues Fire and Ambulance services will have accessing the facility?
So what’s next? The applicant is expected to submit the formal application with reports and studies at the end of the September and the city will then begin the review process by sending the application out to the various departments and agencies involved who will provide their comments and feedback. We believe that the city staff and Councillor Sandra Racco share our concerns about infrastructure, parking and traffic and we will remind them that they must evaluate the revised application in conjunction with all of the other current and proposed developments that we highlighted within last week’s update. We will keep lobbying the city on behalf of the neighbourhood until the density of the development is reduced. Despite numerous meetings and numerous revisions, the density is well beyond the zoning guidelines and the development still appears to be an exclusive and segregated community within Thornhill Woods.
We would love to hear your thoughts, feedback and any ideas you may have on how to best tackle this ongoing issue. Let us know if you have any professional contacts or resources you wish to share with us who may be able to assist us. We will be scheduling another community meeting in early October and more details will follow in the coming weeks.