It has been just over two years since the original Jaffari development application was submitted to the City of Vaughan Planning Department in October 2013. Yet another revised application was submitted to the City last month and PTWA would like to share the highlights of this new proposal with the community.
Let us start by making a very important point. Despite two years of constant denial to the City, the public and the press, the new application clearly states that this development is being built for the exclusive use of the Jaffari congregation. Here is a direct quote from the newly submitted Justification Planning Report: “The proposed development is considered a cultural campus because it is envisioned to meet the unique needs and serve the members of the Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat of Toronto.” and “The term “cultural campus” is loosely defined as a development typology that is purposely built to meet the needs of a specific cultural group.” The report goes on to justify this “exclusive” development by comparing it to the Lebovic Jewish Community Campus and the Ahmadiyya Village at Jane and Teston Road (which is described in their Justification Report as: “Canada’s first Islamic Subdivision”).
The revised application contains no statements indicating that the general public will be allowed access to the housing, facilities or to any of the infrastructure within the newly proposed development. It seems evident from the applicant’s submissions that they clearly want to build an exclusive community within the existing community of Thornhill Woods. This is the exact same verbiage that appeared in the original Justification Planning Report from their initial submission in 2013.
Here is a comparison between the original application from December 2013 and the revised proposal:
October 2013 Proposal
• 61 Town Homes
• 17 Story Seniors Residence: 172 Units
• 17 Story Condominium: 205 Units
• Total Gross Floor Area (GFA): 45,621 sq. metres
• New Parking Spaces: 453
November 2015 Proposal
• 60 Town Homes
• 6 Story Seniors Residence: 153 Units
• 8 Story Condominium: 134 Units
• Total Gross Floor Area (GFA): 43,726 sq. metres
• New Parking Spaces: 428
In many ways, the new application is almost identical to the original 2013 application. The only significant change is that the two high rise buildings have been replaced with shorter, wider buildings with the same floor space. We were also alarmed to discover that the total number of new parking spaces within the revised application has actually been REDUCED. There are currently only 547 parking spaces to support the 2,000+ congregation members and many of you have commented to us about the traffic and parking issues that arise at the Jaffari facility during special events.
As a result of our communities constant pressure on the applicant and City there are but a few minor revisions contained in the new application that we have we pushing for. The Heritage building will be preserved but it will be moved to a different location within the proper and a nature path is being proposed along the conservation lands in the north east quadrant of their property.
We are pleased with these proposed changes but still very disappointed with the density and segregated nature of the development. We are also disappointed that the natural forest behind the homes on Ner Israel Drive will be removed. We encourage the applicant to finally and publicly clarify their position on these issues and we always open to meeting with the applicant to discuss our concerns and to work through the issues together.
PTWA will hold a community wide meeting in January to review the new application, discuss next steps in the process and to answer your questions. We are also expecting the City of Vaughan to hold a Public Hearing on the new application in early February. This will be your opportunity to provide input to City Council and the City’s Planning Department. We urge you to get involved and make your voices heard. Once the date is finalized we will share it and encourage you and all our neighbours to attend this crucial meeting. Let’s try and get one representative from every house in the area to attend this important City meeting. We want the City and applicant to hear our concerns loud and clear.
Stay tuned for more information on these two important events early in the new year.