Shane Baghai condo sparks controversy in Leaside


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The board of the Leaside Arena is locked in a dispute with condo developer Shane Baghai over whether the arena's parking entrance can be used by a potential condo.

An eight-storey condo proposed for the intersection of Millwood Road and Southvale Drive has started a dispute between the board members of Leaside Memorial Community Gardens (a.k.a. Leaside Arena) and the developer over shared road access currently leading into the arena’s parking lot.

The proposed development at 3-5 Southvale Dr., by Shane Baghai, calls for 98 units and two levels of underground parking, with vehicle access proposed via the driveway into the arena.

Councillor Jon Burnside, who sits on the board of the Leaside arena, said the entryway is already busy enough without additional traffic.

“There’s no upside for them to provide an access point to an adjacent condominium,” he said.

But Baghai believes that the “driveway” is actually a public road, owned by the City of Toronto.

“I don’t think the arena has the exclusive right to it,” said Baghai. “The access to [our] site has always been from that road.”

City of Toronto planner John Lyon declined to comment on the matter, stating that it was a key issue surrounding the evaluation of the proposal.

Beyond questions of access, the development is seeking a zoning and official plan amendment, currently under review by city planning officials.

Although the official plan only allows for residential housing up to four storeys, Baghai pointed to the seven-storey building across the street, at 2 Laird Dr., recently approved at the Ontario Municipal Board, to justify the proposed height.

The seven-storey building, Burnside recalled, was heavily contested by local residents and ultimately won the appeal because of its access to Laird Drive — a heavily used arterial road, which Southvale is not, he said.

According to Lyon, a preliminary report is being prepared for the North York Community Council meeting on Sept. 8.

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