the future of spadina avenue'sthree-storey 19th-century buildings looks bleak according to heritage activists who recently lost their case at the Ontario Municipal Board against higher densities on the street. Adjudicator S.W. Lee came down on the side of intensification proponents. "The area (Spadina between College and Dundas) is in dire need of rejuvenation and renewal," he ruled. "A case for intensification not only exists, but cries out for recognition."
Heritage advocate Paul Oberst says now that the bar has been raised on density (up to six storeys high), developers won't be shy about applying for bigger projects. And that could spell the end of the three-storey storefronts. "The decision threatens the buildings. There's no doubt about it."
He concedes that Lee did give a nod to the importance of heritage preservation, ordering city staff to add wording in the Official Plan to "require sensitivity to preservation of facade."
Density proponent Tonny Louie says preservation is important, but "it should not be the determining factor. You have to look at which changes will benefit more people."
Heritage activists are banking on city council to step in and designate some of the 80 buildings as heritage properties.
Preservation board chair Cathy Nasmith says the board's September 27 meeting will vote on which buildings will be recommended for designation.