Vaughan Condo Development Leaves Residents Angry

Published: March 19th 2010

The corner of New Westminster Drive and North Park Road where the buildings are planned
Pic: Elad Benari
"If there’s really good public transportation, people who don’t have a lot of money will take it."
Pic: Gila Martow
A call to Ward 5 Councillor Alan Shefman was not returned
Pic: City of Vaughan

A recent decision by Vaughan city council to allow the building of more condos in a Thornhill neighbourhood has left its residents upset.


Last week, city councillors approved an amendment to a plan which would allow the construction of two more high-rise condos at the intersection of New Westminster Drive and North Park Road (near Bathurst and Centre).


The area already houses seven high-rise condos and the amended plan which was proposed by Liberty Development could allow for as many as nine towers to be built in the neighbourhood.


“They approved the final plan in 2004 and now they’re changing it,” said Dr. Gila Martow, a Thornhill resident who is running for office in Vaughan’s Ward 5. “I could understand if they had to change it if there was some special reason, but to just change it because the developer wants to change it and the city sees more revenue is unfair to the people who purchased. You have to always find the right balance between being fair to the people who already live there, being fair to the builders and developers, being fair to the people who are going to be moving into the area, and meeting the city’s needs. We can’t go overboard pleasing one party and ignoring the needs and wishes of everybody else.”


One of the concerns expressed by the residents is that the neighbourhood is already crowded with traffic, and more condos will only make it worse.


“I’m very very disappointed that they’ve been allowed to build another tower in our area since there is just so much density there already,” said Marilyn Snider, who lives in the building at 50 Disera Drive. “I’m so concerned about ambulances or fire trucks getting in and out of the area. It’s already impossible to get in and out of the streets now, and they’re very small.”


“People in the townhouses across from Westmount say that when there’s a Passover Seder or Friday night dinner, the cars are parked two blocks way from the apartment buildings, and people haven’t even moved to half the buildings yet,” said Martow. “Half the units are still empty. 80 of the units in the condo towers are still not sold.”


Martow suggested that public transportation should be improved in the area if high density residence is planned.


“I don’t understand the logic of bringing the subway to Highway 400 and concentrating on meeting the province’s mandate for high density development in the city by developing New Westminster, which is not a regional road. It’s a neighbourhood. I could see high development along a regional road that has a subway,” she said. “I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have developments, but give us public transportation and let’s develop around it. There’s no point saying people should take public transportation when they don’t. It’s two fares in York Region. By the time you get to the city you’ve spent more on your fares than you would’ve spent on gas. If there’s really good public transportation, people who don’t have a lot of money will take it.”


Related articles: (vaughan, condos, disera, new westminster, north park)

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