Questions remain as Lakeview Village approaches final approval
Mississauga’s waterfront is heading for another milestone. In the 14 years since the Four Sisters power station belched its last cloud of smoke over the city, residents and developers have been at odds over the land's future.
When the power plant was demolished in 2006, residents envisioned a bright future. The project, aptly titled Inspiration Lakeview, imagined a waterfront park with new houses, recreational facilities and spaces to learn. It was hailed as a watershed moment in community-led development when it was completed in 2014.
But the plan led to a series of counter proposals from one development group, known as Lakeview Community Partners (LCP), pushing hard for a different project altogether, replacing people power with profit.
The Four Sisters power station was torn down in 2006.
Since 2018, the developer has faced off with the very resident group that thought up the project in the first place. LCP has pushed for a taller and denser project than was originally on the table.
Now, LCP has submitted a request to change the zoning on their property to move bullishly forward. A public meeting to be held online and at City Hall Monday will be one of the last opportunities residents have to make their opinions known before the City signs on the dotted line.
“We’re moving in a good direction, but there’s still a lot of unanswered questions that really need to be answered before everyone fully understands what’s coming,” Deborah Goss, Presidents of the Lakeview Ratepayers Association, the group behind Inspiration Lakeview, told The Pointer. Largely positive about the project in its current form, she still has some concerns and is frustrated by anyone who accuses the group of NIMBYism. It was their idea after all.
LCP have submitted an Official Plan Amendment request to change the zoning for its waterfront lands to allow it to build a multi-billion dollar community.
“Unfortunately what I think will happen is they’ll just tap you on the head and say ‘Don’t worry, we’re sorting that out.’ There are big questions that all feed into one another about how this development is going to turn out,” she added.
The majority of directional decisions were made last year when the City endorsed the project’s master plan, giving it a greenlight in principle. The final hurdle for the developer — and chance to shape the project for residents — is the zoning change, a legal requirement under the Planning Act.
Last year, the LCP made some concessions. It dropped from a proposed 9,700 units to 8,026, responding to concern from residents. It represented a willingness to compromise, but was still a considerable hike from Inspiration Lakeview’s initial suggestion of roughly 5,000 units.
Other nagging issues persist for locals. In particular, many took issue with a 24 storey building, set to tower over the idyllic waterfront park. In October 2019, the Lakeview Ratepayers Association suggested reducing the building’s height to 12 storeys and spreading the units throughout the development. So far, it seems LCP has not agreed to the plan.
A staff report, prepared in advance of the public meeting, also uncovers several flagship promises for the project still far from becoming a reality.
As The Pointer has previously reported, in their attempt to squeeze more units from the land, LCP elected to plan houses on the edge of a sewage plant.
Located within 120 metres of the G.E. Booth wastewater treatment facility, the units are in danger of “foul odours” wafting from the facility, previous city reports have stated. The positives identified from the proximity to this plant were environmentally friendly, innovative uses of technology. One was a plan to create a district energy system, a way to centralize the heating and cooling of the whole community. Ward 1 Councillor Stephen Dasko explained in 2019, plans were afoot between the Region of Peel and the developer to use effluent water from the facility as a source of thermal heat for the development.
The proposed plan is adjacent to the G.E. Booth wastewater treatment facility (shown on the right side of the image).
Creating the system will “require government funding beyond municipal resources” and timelines for making it a reality may not align with the development application, City staff fear. The same concern is true of an innovative plan for a vacuum waste disposal system, subject to a different timeline and other government funding.
Asked by The Pointer if she was concerned taxpayer money would be used to subsidize the green elements of the multi-billion dollar development, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said the cooperation of all four levels of government was key. “The City could not fund it itself nor could the Lakeview [Community] Partners,” she said.
Goss is concerned the district energy plan, raised in the original vision as an option, is being pushed without knowing the real cost to taxpayers. “District energy was put forward in the very, very original concept because it was something that came out of Sweden, it was good, it was investigated. But it was all based on a study [taking place] to see whether it was viable; it was not a given,” she explained.
Another major contention for local residents is traffic on Lakeshore Road. Lakeview Village will bring thousands of new residents who will need to travel in and out of the community. In order to keep traffic moving along the waterfront thoroughfare, Mississauga City Council submitted an application for federal and provincial funding for a short bus rapid transit corridor past the development in October 2019.
Since it was submitted, alongside a similar request for Dundas Street, there has been radio silence from higher levels of government. Local PC MPP Rudy Cuzzetto told The Pointer he had been “bringing it up since the first day I was elected,” adding he was the type of person that if “you give me a project to do, I will do whatever it takes to deliver it for our community.”
He could not confirm when a funding announcement would take place.
If past trends continue, City Hall and the corresponding online meeting will be well attended on Monday. Residents will be given an opportunity to share their views on the height, density and innovative plans associated with Lakeview Village.
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