Survey finds 90% of area respondents oppose condo proposal in Thornhill

New survey provides hard data against increasing density near Promenade Mall


Published:

Josh Martow in front of the Promenade shopping centre

Thornhill residents overwhelmingly opposed a development proposal from Torgan Group to build seven 27-storey condo towers on the site of the Promenade shopping centre, and local residents groups now have the hard data to prove it. Over 1,200 residents (comprising 90 per cent of respondents) said they didn’t want to see the building height increase from the official plan–approved 14 storeys to the proposed 27 storeys.  

A community survey was distributed online by the Centre-Bathurst Committee, a new working group formed by three residents associations, in mid-May. It received over 1,300 responses. Questions focused on the proposed height and density increases in the area, the types of development they want to see, traffic and other concerns. 

“The biggest [concern] definitely is traffic. That includes cars, and it also includes pedestrians,” said Josh Martow, president of the Beverley Glen Ratepayers Association. “We have major congestion issues going to work, travelling south in the morning and then back north in the evening.”

“What you end up with is a different animal than the normal process.”

The survey was a novel approach to development negotiations because it gave the residents groups hard data to support their claims. It was presented in a public planning meeting in early June attended by Vaughan city councillor Alan Shefman, residents and a Torgan Group representative. 

“We have a lot of these meetings where people yell and scream, and it’s not terribly effective,” said Shefman. “What they’ve done here is a research-based position that addresses the breadth of the issues. What you end up with is a different animal than the normal process.”

Although the survey indicates that locals don’t want the development to go through as it currently stands, Sam Cohen, co-owner of Torgan Group, insisted many others have given their support for the towers. He said the general idea is to create a vibrant community hub with shops, cafés, cycling paths and green space.

“We were approached to do what we were doing now by all kinds of people who live in the area, some who are in advanced age and their kids have left home,” said Cohen. “They don’t want to leave the area, but they don’t want to live in their big mansions. They want to sell it and move to a nice condo.” 

The survey will be brought to a public hearing with Vaughan City Council in early fall. The results of the meeting will decide next steps.

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