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CHATTER: Appeal dismissed, redevelopment of 225 Brunswick Ave. to proceed (Spring 2022)

April 11th, 2022 · No Comments

Construction at 225 Brunswick Ave. is set to begin this spring after a lengthy appeal by the former synagogue’s neighbours.

On Dec. 17, 2021, the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) ruled in favour of developer Jeff Kopas, of Kopas Developmets Ltd., approving his plan to turn the commercial building into a seven-unit apartment building. 

Over the course of two hearings last fall, TLAB heard from expert witnesses, on both sides, who spoke about land use and heritage architecture planning. The residents from Harbord Village who opposed the plan argued that it would be an “overdevelopment” in the context of the neighbourhood, and that it did not honour the building’s heritage value.

Ultimately, TLAB authorized the proposal with revisions to several variances relating to landscaping and maximum floor space.

In a statement to the Gleaner, Kopas said “it cost a great deal of money and time for all involved, and I think it could have been avoided.” He adds that his team is looking forward to finally being able to break ground on this project—one that they have already spent “countless hours over many years” planning.

Changes that were not previously approved by the Committee of Adjustment (the body that originally approved the project), cannot be made at this point; however, Kopas still wants to work with the residents going forward.

“We did promise from our very first conversations that we would work with the neighbours to try and minimize the effects of the construction. We will still honor that promise.”

But Kopas also recognizes that increased density in some of the smaller, historical neighbourhoods, like Harbord Village, can be a difficult pill to swallow. 

“I acknowledge that means change…it means in some cases new houses and small, multi-unit buildings closer to our houses than we would like, and that is not easy to accept.” He believes, however, that smaller buildings are better alternatives to high rise condominiums, and he hopes that the finished project will be a positive example of what investing in the “missing middle” can do. 

Residents from Harbord Village who launched the appeal did not respond to requests for comment.

—Madeline Smart/Gleaner News


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