A local church turned to Diamante Development Corporation to finance a new facility, agreeing to sever their land in exchange for much-needed building funds. Now that construction of the three-storey church is underway, the residential component of the site, a proposed 25-storey condominium, is causing concern among local residents.
“The whole package had to go forward for the zoning, so yes, it was known that it would be used for a condominium development,” said Rev. Shaw, of St. George’s, adding that the church has been a landmark over the years and people wanted to ensure there would be a new one. In addition,Shaw said the new church will also house a community centre and a public garden.
But it remains unclear exactly what form of residential development will be added to the property, as the plans will need the go ahead from the city before Diamante can proceed. “The residential component on the west side of the site will still need a site plan approval,” said Rob Gibson, the project’s senior city planner on application. “We haven’t heard or seen any applications from the residential landowner in terms of when they are going to proceed.”
And that has local residents concerned.
“It exponentially brings traffic, it brings pollution and it brings sewage problems. I don’t mean to be funny, but where does the crap go? It’s got to go somewhere,” said Dave Slotnick, president of the Willowdale Neighbourhood Association.
Coun. John Filion said that although the area has more than its fill of residential condominiums, this project does offer some positive impact to the local area.
“Condo projects are never particularly good for the community, but the reconstruction of the church is,” he said.
Diamante has allowed the church office to remain on their property until construction of the new church is complete.