Bathurst development concerns mounting

Many Thornhillers unite against 17-storey, two-tower proposal


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Rom Koubi at the contentious Thornhill Woods development

The fight against an incoming development has gathered traction. The Preserve Thornhill Woods community group has come together to make their case against a proposed 17-storey mixed-use development at the Jaffari Centre Mosque at 9000 Bathurst St. operated by the Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat (ISIJ), a Toronto-based Muslim association.

Thousands had already signed an online petition opposing the high-density development, which includes two 17-storey towers, 61 townhouses, and sports and recreation facilities. Now, Preserve Thornhill Woods (PTW) has become an officially recognized community group with the City of Vaughan, and they are diligently meeting to strategize on their fight against the development.

PTW president Rom Koubi said that the Jaffari Centre is already crowding the neighbourhood. “They’re basically drowning us every time they have an event,” said Koubi.

Though the majority of PTW’s concerns lie in the density and the heritage aspects of the development, a flyer circulated by the group also addressed concerns over the apparent exclusivity of the development.

“They’re basically drowning us every time they have an event.”

“The proposed development is for an EXCLUSIVE group in an already established multicultural community,” said the flyer.

ISIJ president Shabbir Jeraj said that this is not the case. “Many parts of the development will be open to all residents of Vaughan and the surrounding areas, including the playing fields and tennis courts.”

Jeraj and ISIJ say they want to work harmoniously with the broader community, but Koubi said that it has not been going well.

“We are willing to work with them,” said Koubi. “But they have to understand that they’re the ones who are applying and they’re the ones who have to satisfy the people who are standing behind us right now.”

Coun. Sandra Yeung Racco, however, said that she’s confident tensions will subside. “All parties are very willing to work together to come to a mutual-ly acceptable solution,” she said. “I’m optimistic this will be reached.”

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