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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Don't let a Walmart and 3-story shopping mall destroy Kensington Market Toronto

By Dominique R.
Toronto
Major commercial developer Riocan wants to build a 3-story shopping mall including a 2-story suburban-size Walmart and massive parking lot at Bathurst and College right between Kensington and Little Italy.
Everything I love about my neighbourhood is threatened by this proposal: the human scale of the streetscape, the skyline, its walkability, the local independent businesses that give Kensington Market and Little Italy their character. A mall this large will flood one of the most exciting pedestrian areas of the city with cars. At 129,000 square feet, the proposed mall is 130 times larger than most of the stores on College and in Kensington Market.
I’m especially concerned for my neighbours who own family-run businesses. As City Councillor Adam Vaughan pointed out at a public discussion, Walmart is know to use predatory pricing and other practices that put small independent stores out of business, making them the only game in town. This is one of the reasons so many communities have rallied to keep Walmart out of their cities.
We can stop the mall. The City's Official plan doesn’t permit malls like this to be built close to residential neighbourhoods, which is why the Ontario Municipal Board has already once rejected the mall. But Riocan is pushing ahead anyway, applying to have the area re-zoned to let them build the mall. The re-zoning could be approved in a matter of months if we don't fight back.
Toronto City Planning Division, coordinated by city planner Liora Freedman, has the decision-making power to put a stop to this immediately. Sign my petition to the city planning division demanding they respect their own Official plan and by-laws and stop this inappropriately large retail-only developement.
Riocan’s application for re-zoning is part of a disturbing trend in our city. Exception after exception has been made to allow developers to bring in chain store retail in the downtown core that has a serious impact on the independent business that are the heart and soul of our neighbourhoods. If the communities around Bathurst and College win this fight against Riocan we will have set a precedent that could empower other neighbourhoods in Toronto to face down developers in the future. It's a battle we can't afford to lose.
PUBLIC CONSULTATION
This week, please come out and have your say at this public meeting hosted by the Planning Department.
Date: Thursday, June 6, 2013
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00 pm
Place: College St United Church, Sanctuary / Auditorium
454 College Street, northwest corner, College and Bathurst
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