By Sue Stefko
(Appeared in the Glebe Report, May 2022)
The Glebe Annex Community Association (GACA) is preparing for our annual general meeting, which will again be run virtually on Wednesday May 18th from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Our headline presentation for this year’s meeting will be Canada Lands Company, who will be providing results from the public consultation for the 299 Carling Avenue park. Councillor Menard will provide a Councillor’s update, and GACA will give a rundown of some of the notable activities in the community over the last year.
As always, it seems, development will be at the forefront of that update. Our neighbourhood, which measures about 500 metres by 350 metres, continues to see an astounding amount of development, both planned and in progress, especially considering its size. The first of the ongoing projects to kick off was the John Howard Society site at 289 Carling. Construction began on the six floor, 40-unit building in December 2020, and is expected to continue until late summer 2022. While residents were spared blasting, there were months of hoe-ramming, which coincided with COVID-related stay-at-home orders and lockdowns, making the experience a difficult one for many.
Metres away, construction on Katasa’s 16 storey, retirement residence “The Clemow” at 275 Carling began in August 2021. This time, residents were spared neither blasting nor hoe-ramming, as bedrock was removed to make way for five stories of underground parking. Initially slated to take six months (until about February), excavation lasted until April 2022, fraying the nerves and patience of residents as work continued six days a week in the final weeks of excavation. Efforts have recently begun to build the parking garage before work on the actual building begins in the fall of 2022. It will take about another year and a half to complete the build.
Meanwhile, Canada Lands’ 299 Carling project, expected to include four towers ranging from eight to 20 stories, bringing an additional 550 units into the neighbourhood, finally received zoning approval in January 2022, more than four years after public discussions began in November 2017.
A smaller-scale development recently underwent a hiccup when the previous owners of 7 Maclean sold the land after receiving site plan approval to build a three-storey, 7-unit building. The lot was recently purchased by Canci Realty, and in the coming years we expect to see 26 units added to the existing apartment building on 385 Bell St. S, which abuts the 7 Maclean property.
All these are just the projects occurring within the boundaries of the Glebe Annex, and don’t take into account major developments such as the Booth St. Complex, Arnon’s plans for 450 Rochester (the much-anticipated grocery store!), the Civic Hospital, Katasa’s proposed 26 storey development at 774 Bronson, and other developments near Carling and Preston.
However, our neighbourhood has much more going on than development. In traffic news, the Glebe Annex became designated a 30 km/hr zone, with gateway speed signs installed last November, to reduce speeding and make the neighbourhood safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Work also continues on the Midtown Bridges project, which will replace 10 bridges in five locations on Highway 417 between Preston and Percy Streets. Last year, Orangeville was closed to become a staging area – it will remain closed at Lebreton St S. until the end of 2025. The noise barrier and all the trees and vegetation on the south side of the 417 were removed, with the Ministry of Transportation continuing the rebuilding process throughout this year, replacing the Rochester overpass this summer, and the Bronson Ave overpass in the summer of 2023.
Last summer also saw the creation of our pollinator garden in Dalhousie South Park by GACA volunteers, which was quickly visited by bees and other pollinators.
This year is shaping up to be another busy one. GACA plans to conduct another community clean-up, starting from Dalhousie South Park, on Saturday May 14th from 10:30 until noon – unless it rains, in which case we’re planning for the following day – Sunday the 15th. Our AGM is scheduled for the following week, on May 18th, which will kick off this year’s membership campaign, which will also be run virtually. We also hope to re-start some in-person social activities this year and will be seeking our members’ input as to what they would like to see. We hope the community will join us for all of these activities as we kick off what we expect to be another busy year.
Photo by Gabrielle Dallaporta – GACA volunteers building the pollinator garden in Dalhousie South Park.