More than 300 people responded to a survey about SpringFarm Marketplace (Sobey’s Plaza) in the Clark and Hilda avenues area.
“It shows how interested the community is in what’s happening at the plaza,” said Pamela Taraday-Levy, president of the SpringFarm Ratepayers Association.
Ward 5 Thornhill Councillor Alan Shefman was also impressed by the response.
“It provides a community voice with strength behind it,” he said.
“I’m hopeful RioCan will take note. “Hopefully, these guys are going to listen,” Shefman said.
On Nov. 4, at a public meeting, plaza owner RioCan outlined its redevelopment plans for the plaza, which includes Shoppers Drug Mart, TD Bank, and other retailers and restaurants.
The survey, distributed by the ratepayers association, revealed that about 83 per cent of survey respondents have six main concerns.
They include increased traffic, loss of a southbound lane on Hilda during construction, potential for too many units (condo or rental) in space available, height of the proposed building, potential loss of existing shops/services, potential loss of parking spaces during construction.
The survey found almost 82 per cent of people who responded shopped either daily or weekly at the plaza.
The results contained one or two surprises, said ratepayer representatives.
For example, 50 per cent of those surveyed have lived in the area for 20 years or more.
The largest group of people who responded are in the 60 and older age group, which accounts for 45.6 per cent of those who responded.
“I don’t think we realized the age group or length of time they lived here,” Taraday-Levy said. “This is a very stable community,” she said. “It is not a transient neighbourhood at all”.
More than 21 per cent of those who responded are not opposed to change.
More than 80 per cent of respondents want the redevelopment to include the following priorities: more storefronts and restaurants at street level, building height restricted to 10 storeys or less, underground parking with a covered/closed connection to merchant area, a park/community green space above underground parking, tunnel access for cars/vans from Clark/Hilda to enter underground parking.
RioCan has said it is interested in working with SpringFarm’s Ratepayers Association and has offered to sponsor a design charrette — a technique for consulting with all stakeholders, especially in design/architectural areas. It typically involves intense and possibly multi-day meetings, including municipal officials, developers, and residents.
The date for the charrett has not been set, but will likely happen at the beginning of February.
Shefman has been invited, but the public will not be involved since it’s not a public meeting, but a working group.
RioCan’s development application to the city of Vaughan is expected sometime in late January to early February. Even after a formal submission is made to the city, the ratepayers association is still able to lobby on behalf of the community.
“We are talking and that’s a good thing. We will know more when there is a formal submission made to the city,” Shefman said.
Residents were told the redevelopment would not remove Sobey’s, a popular supermarket, which has a lease that runs to 2030.
For more information about the residents association, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
YorkRegion.com | Article: Simone Joseph