Toronto’s mayor has joined a chorus of calls by housing advocates to put the brakes on a plan to pave over a city property—before the Green P gets the green light.
In a letter to the chair of the Toronto Parking Authority, Toronto Mayor John Tory wrote that he has serious concerns over the plan to build a surface parking lot at the corner of Eglinton Avenue West and Caledonia Road, because the city-owned property could otherwise be transformed into much-needed affordable housing.
“We just can’t go on any longer building parking lots on pieces of land that are close to transit,” Tory told CTV News Toronto.
The city purchased several low-rise buildings around 2212 Eglinton Avenue West several years ago, with the intent of building a 24-spot surface parking lot to help offset the street parking lost to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. But housing advocates say not only would tearing down the residential units mean a net loss of rental housing - the city would be forgoing an opportunity to build dozens more affordable apartments on the site, potentially above an underground parking lot.
“We have a housing crisis, we don't have a parking crisis,” said housing advocate Mark Richardson.
Richardson has formally asked the parking authority to cancel plans for the parking lot - calling the $850,000 contract to demolish the buildings and build a parking a lot a waste of money for the city - on top of the millions already spent on buying the properties.
“It’s over $120,000 per parking spot,” he said.
The parking authority will vote on whether to proceed with the contract on Tuesday. Chair Hartley Lefton told CTV News Toronto on Monday that he will be asking the board to work with the city to find a collaborative solution.
Richardson says he hopes the board agrees to stop the wrecking ball before more housing units are lost.
“Parking lots are fine, but a surface parking lot that is being created by tearing down existing housing is a total waste of time and money for the city.”