Now that spring has arrived, it’s time to think about green spaces. Landscaping is a much-discussed issue for large-scale re-zonings, and in new developments, a certain amount of land must be set aside for parks. If it isn’t, then developers must pay a parkland dedication fee.
An arial view of the Avonshire community.
Naturally, we prefer to provide the land in the development plans at the beginning. So one solution that we do is to create strata plans, by drawing up the land into lots and common property. We create urban parks on either green or hard surfaces, at grade. The condominium takes ownership of the parks, and takes responsibility for programming it, the developer saves money and the public benefits from it.
Another reason why we prefer this route is that the community always benefits. If we were to choose to pay the fee, then the fee goes to the city, which may decide to build the park elsewhere.
The Aristo towers at Avonshire.
An example of good parkland use is our masterplanned project Avonshire, east of Yonge Street, north of Highway 401, where we built a transition project on a group of almost 300 walk-up apartments that were run-down and non- repairable. We rezoned it to create more density, built a replacement rental unit to house the tenants, and now there’s an eco-friendly park surrounded by the condo residences. Construction on the project is currently well underway. It’s a great project in part because the city got rental replacement.
The land now holds many condo units which the city sold and profited from, and they got a public park too. The development has garden villas and townhomes which border the park, helping to create a cohesive and focused neighbourhood.