After a last-minute filing to seek the court to approve an emergency injunction to temporarily stop the demolition of Toronto’s Dominion Wheel and Foundries Company buildings, an Ontario court judge has ruled to halt the development for about 30 days.
The judge found that the province was in contravention of the Heritage Act, and breach of Ontario’s obligations to the City of Toronto, resulting in an injunction.
“Infrastructure Ontario decided to demolish the heritage buildings without first providing a heritage assessment report to Toronto in accordance with the subdivision agreement, did not disclose publicly its intention to demolish the buildings, did not disclose publicly the heritage assessment report written by one of its employees, and did not undertake any ‘public engagement’ respecting demolition of the buildings,” wrote Judge David Corbett.
The injunction sets the stage for the City to work with the province to find a resolution that, according to Toronto Major John Tory, “gets more affordable housing built and at the same time addresses community concerns around heritage and public consultation.”
“While the demolition has been halted on an emergency basis, the next step is to properly have our concerns about these heritage buildings heard by a panel of judges at the Divisional Court,” stated Toronto Centre Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam.
Minister Steve Clark’s office stated their disappointment that the court ruling will effectively slow the construction of affordable housing in Toronto.
“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,” the statement read. “We had paused demolition as a good-faith gesture towards the City. 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.”
The news offers hope to the Corktown Residents and Business Association and International Resource Centre for Performing Artists who are working towards a feasibility study proposing the Foundry site be repurposed as a multipurpose centre for musicians that combines affordable housing, two new performance venues, and a Hub with childcare for the diverse communities.
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