Here are the key points you need to know about what's happening now and in the near future.
Four key points:
- The demolition team pulled out of the site as of the first week of May, although the site will still be guarded (see details below)
- We have been successful in court so far, but at a steep cost. Please give to the Legal Defence Fund.
- The hearing previously set for February 26 was postponed (see details below)
- Meanwhile it has emerged that a sale of the Foundry site was agreed to in September 2020, a full month before Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steven Clark, issued a Minister’s Zoning Order for the lot.
- A number of groups have proposed possible versions of the developed site that includes the Heritage buildings as well as various densities of housing, in an effort to show the Province that heritage and housing can go together; see here for details
The Site Today
The demolition has all but pulled out of the site completely. Their plan is to secure the buildings and leave the site until the Province decides what to do. They have boarded up the holes they made in the foundry building, removed nearly all their equipment, and will close up or board up all other openings in the other buildings. Based on a conversation with the site foreman, the site will continue to be attended by security guards, although fewer have been observed since the heavy equipment was moved off. They did not complete the asbestos removal, and considerable remediation still needs to happen to the ground all over the site, including underneath the foundry building and machine shop.
As agreed by all parties — the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association (SLNA), the City, and the Province — the February 26 has been adjourned (postponed) to give all parties more time to come to some kind of resolution. If they can’t reach a resolution, another court date will be set and the hearing will proceed.
This is great news (for now) because the parties have also agreed that the Interim Order will remain in effect. In other words, the province can’t continue with the demolition while we are discussing resolution.
In the meantime, the Province initiated a one-way “consultation” process (now closed), with the province asking for community input.
We must remember, the Province owns the land, and the Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) allows them to bypass nearly all planning requirements set by the City. The Court ordered them to continue the pause on demolition because there is compelling evidence that they have not met their own standards under the Ontario Heritage Act and had breached heritage-related commitments in a subdivision agreement.
The Province is attempting to fulfill those requirements now. Once they are finished, there is a risk we will no longer be able to stop them through the courts. So a mutually-agreed adjournment right now is a good outcome.
What power do we have? Same as before: public pressure. Here’s why we can’t let up:
- We have the support of politicians at all three levels of government, representing all major opposition parties in the Ontario Legislature (NDP, Liberal, and Green).
- We have 23,000 signatures on our petition.
- We have written thousands of letters to Premier Ford and to Ministers Clark, MacLeod, and Scott; to all the Conservative MPPs in the 416 region, and to many others in the Legislature.
- All major media outlets have covered our story multiple times. Most of the stories are critical of the Province.
- Online discussion of the issue is not going away.
- Crucially, citizens of Ontario are starting to connect the dots between the MZO affecting the Foundry site and other MZOs across the province, along with other coercive manoeuvres the Province has used to fast-track development without full and fair public consultation with those directly affected. Check out these stories about Stratford and Orillia.