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New neighbourhood planned at former Mr. Christie site, but some residents foresee traffic woes

At Parklawn and Lake Shore, the Mr. Christie plant is down, and as many as 15 condos are slated to go up.

First Capital Realty, which bought the lands with an unnamed partner in 2016, submitted its official plan application to the City of Toronto earlier this week.

If approved, the company would build a neighbourhood from scratch.

The proposal includes 7,500 new units in 15 condo towers, some as high as 71 stories. There would also be one-million square feet of retail, restaurants and commercial opportunities and new parkland.

The developer envisions the neighbourhood as a transit hub, and if the province says yes, it would include an integrated Parklawn GO/TTC transit hub.

“This has been a very, very well thought out master-plan,” says Jodi Shpigel, First Capital’s Vice President of Development.

“All decisions have been about how to build the best community that fits within Humber Bay Shores — that delivers transit, that delivers a place for people to live in, work in and shop and enjoy themselves.”

Humber Bay Shores has witnessed a nearly 65 per cent population increase over the past eight years, the developer says, as dozens of condos have risen in the area.

Many residents are concerned that the conversion of former employment lands to mixed use will result in a significant increase in traffic.

“Fifteen more condos? We’ve got lots of condos here already,” says Kin, a long-time resident of the area. “Are they going to do something about the traffic? It’s very congested.”

“I’m definitely not happy about that. There’s already quite a bit of congestion in the area, traffic wise,” says Varia, who owns two units in the area.

The 28-acre development would have its own network of streets connecting elements of the site and a new road would run along the northern edge of the property to alleviate traffic at Parklawn and Lake Shore. That road would connect the Parklawn Gardiner access ramp to the east Gardiner ramp.

“Traffic is horrible in the area,” says Andre, who has lived in the area for years. “Its always bad. Lakeshore, Parklawn, the Queensway. It’ll definitely make things worse.”

“This area has needed more transit for years and that’s been recognized by all levels of government,” says Shpigel.

Metrolinx put the brakes on plans for a Parklawn GO station a few years ago. The Mimico station is only 1.4 kilometres away and has one of the lowest ridership rates across the Lakeshore line. Last year, Metrolinx announced it was reconsidering and Shpigel says they have been in constant communication with the transit organization, and the TTC, over the past few months.

“Putting a GO station there? Most of the people are going to be driving there. Most of the people around here won’t really use it,” Andre adds.

But not everybody in the community finds the proposal unappetizing. “I have always been supportive of intensification,” says Robin Clay, who administers a large Facebook group for the community.

“It brings things closer to my home so that I don’t have to leave my community to access services and shops.”

“So many of the anti-high rise, ‘no more condos’ crowds forget how we already benefit with new services and restaurants that would not be viable without the population to sustain them,” Clay adds.

The City has planned for a November 12th community consultation meeting on the proposal.