Toronto wins fight to build modular housing complex in Willowdale


CaDCR staff writer

A modular supportive housing development in North York has a green light for construction after a ruling from the Ontario Land Tribunal.

The 60-unit development, meant for people leaving homelessness, was contested to the tribunal by the Bayview Cummer Neighbourhood Association, LiVante Holdings (Cummer) Inc. and a local Voices of Willowdale, community groups that said the development “could not exist” at 175 Cummer Ave. on the same property as Willowdale Manor, a four-storey Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) apartment that houses about 600 seniors.

Citizens’ groups campaigned to “stop a bad decision that hurts our seniors, destroys our green space and fails Toronto’s homeless.”

“These parklands are cherished and provide solace and tranquility to over 600 seniors home residents of Willowdale Manor/Cummer Lodge, together with hundreds more staff and their families and local area residents,” the group noted in a petition. “The City of Toronto has provided no pre-consultation of any kind about the selection of sites for the City’s modular homes project.

However, in a decision released last week, the tribunal says the planned complex is “capable of existing together in harmony” with Willowdale Manor.

The plan to build modular housing on the property was approved by the council in 2021 under Toronto’s Modular Housing Initiative and the city said in a statement that seniors experiencing homelessness would be one eligible population to be supported at the site and they may be prioritized.

In June 2021, the city asked the province to speed up the project by issuing a ministerial zoning order (MZO). The MZO was never granted.

The three-storey modular housing building will include 59 studio apartments with private eat-in kitchens and bathrooms. The building would also include a laundry facility, a kitchen and dining room, program space and administrative offices. The building is designed to support individuals who are exiting homelessness. A local non-profit housing provider will manage the building and provide support services to the tenants under an agreement with the city.


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