Toronto

Green P plan on hold after mayor requests that lot be used for affordable housing

A plan to turn city-owned land into a parking lot has been placed on hold for the second time in as many months.

Land on Eglinton is 'prime location' for new housing, Tory wrote in letter to Toronto Parking Authority

City-owned land at the corner of Eglinton Avenue West and Caledonia Road was slated to be turned into a Green P lot. (HousingNowTO)

For the second time in as many months, a plan to turn city-owned land into a parking lot has been placed on hold.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) voted to put on hold the future Green P site that critics, including Mayor John Tory, argued could be better used for affordable housing.

"The TPA board voted unanimously to direct staff to work together with CreateTO, the Deputy City Manager and the local councillor, to continue the review of the use of this property," TPA board chair Hartley Lefton told CBC Toronto following the meeting.

"We look forward to an update at our next meeting."

In a letter sent Monday, Tory asked the TPA to abandon the plan to build a parking lot near Eglinton Avenue West and Caledonia Road and consider building affordable housing instead. 

A plan to turn the city-owned land into a surface-level Green P parking lot was put on ice last month after a housing advocate pointed out that building the lot so close to a future transit hub contradicted the city's own affordable housing strategy. 

In his letter, Tory made it clear that he agrees, telling the chair of the TPA that it's a "prime location" for a "transit-oriented development."

The land, which currently contains two two-storey buildings and a single-family home, is about 500 metres away from the future Caledonia Station, which is set to open in two years and will connect with the Barrie GO Train line and the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. 

Part of the mission of Tory's affordable housing strategy, called Housing Now, is to build "livable communities near transit."

The city purchased 2204-2212 Eglinton Avenue West in 2013. If the lot were constructed, it would create 24 or 25 parking spaces. (Google Street view)

The TPA has been consulting with CreateTO — the city's real estate team responsible for making decisions about whether to sell city-owned land. 

"I believe the city, through the TPA and CreateTO, has a tremendous opportunity to unlock the value of this land," wrote Tory in his letter. 

He also wrote that he and Coun. Mike Colle, who represents the area, would like any future planning for the site to be done in consultation with both Colle and with people who live in the area.