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Demolition of historic Foundry buildings halted until final decision in late February

Last Updated Jan 29, 2021 at 6:40 pm EDT

Workers exit the Dominion Wheel and Foundries Company site in Toronto on Tuesday January 19, 2021. The heritage site owned by the Province of Ontario is being demolished under a Municipal Zoning Order. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

A motion to pause the destruction of Toronto’s historic Foundry buildings in the West Don Lands has been granted until a final review of the province’s application takes place in late February.

On Friday night the Superior Court of Justice granted the motion, filed by the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, for an official pause on the destruction of the buildings by the province.

The province said it was disappointed in the decision, having previously paused the demolition “as a good faith measure.”

“As we’ve stated, a Heritage Impact Assessment was completed, which determined that the buildings require demolition to facilitate full environmental remediation of the site,” read a statement from Steve Clark, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

“It is disappointing that the City of Toronto is slowing down environmental remediation, and the construction of new much-needed affordable housing and community space in the West Don Lands.”

In his decision, the judge ruled that the demolition of the buildings should have never started.

“It appears clear that the demolition began in contravention of The Heritage Act, and in breach of Ontario’s obligations under a subdivision agreement between Ontario and the City of Toronto,” the ruling (below) reads.

He further notes that The Heritage Act also requires “public engagement” before demolition can begin.

Mayor John Tory said he hopes both sides can use the time to resolve the dispute.

“I believe a path forward can be found that gets more affordable housing built and at the same time addresses community concerns around heritage and public consultation,” Tory said in a statement.

The application to continue the demolition will now be heard by a panel of three judges on February 26, 2021.

The Ministry previously argued that the provincially-owned property has been abandoned for over 40 years and “requires demolition to allow for significant environmental remediation.”

The work will also “allow for the construction of new affordable housing, market housing, and community space,” it said.

SLNA v. Ontario January 29 2021 Final (002) by CityNewsToronto on Scribd