Don't let a Walmart and 3-story shopping mall destroy Kensington Market
  • Petitioned Walmart

This petition was delivered to:

Walmart
City Councillor
Adam Vaughan
Community Planner, City of Toronto
Liora Freedman
Chief Planner, City of Toronto
Jennifer Keesmaat
City of Toronto
Councillor Mike Layton

Don't let a Walmart and 3-story shopping mall destroy Kensington Market

    1. Petition by

      Friends of Kensington Market

  1.  
  2.   
July 2014

Victory

We did it! Thanks to all of you, we won for Kensington Market and Toronto! 93,066 people signed this petition to stop a Walmart from being built next to Toronto’s beloved Kensington Market. As a result of those signatures and concerted community and political action, the developer gave up their plan for a giant retail-only development with Walmart as the anchor tenant and brought forward a better plan for Bathurst and Nassau.

Major commercial developer Riocan wants to build a 7-story shopping mall with 3 floors of retail including a suburban-size Walmart and massive parking lot at Bathurst and College right between Kensington and Little Italy.

Everything I love about my neighbourhood is threatened by this proposal: the human scale of the streetscape, the skyline, its walkability, the local independent businesses that give Kensington Market and Little Italy their character. A mall this large will flood one of the most exciting pedestrian areas of the city with cars. At 129,000 square feet, the proposed mall is 130 times larger than most of the stores on College and in Kensington Market.

I’m especially concerned for my neighbours who own family-run businesses. As City Councillor Adam Vaughan pointed out at a public discussion, Walmart is known to use predatory pricing and other practices that put small independent stores out of business, making them the only game in town. This is one of the reasons so many communities have rallied to keep Walmart out of their cities.

We can stop the mall. The City's Official plan doesn’t permit malls like this to be built close to residential neighbourhoods, which is why the Ontario Municipal Board has already once rejected the mall. But Riocan is pushing ahead anyway, applying to have the area re-zoned to let them build the mall. The re-zoning could be approved if we don't fight back.

Toronto City Planning Division has the decision-making power to put a stop to this. Sign my petition to the city planning division demanding they respect their own Official plan and by-laws and stop this inappropriately large retail-only developement.

Riocan’s application for re-zoning is part of a disturbing trend in our city. Exception after exception has been made to allow developers to bring in chain store retail in the downtown core that has a serious impact on the independent business that are the heart and soul of our neighbourhoods. If the communities around Bathurst and College win this fight against Riocan we will have set a precedent that could empower other neighbourhoods in Toronto to face down developers in the future. It's a battle we can't afford to lose.

Update:

We’ve just learned that Riocan has quietly submitted an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), challenging the current bylaw preventing development on Bathurst for one year, and asking the OMB to allow the site to be rezoned to let them build their mall. If the OMB rules in Riocan's favour, there will be nothing left stopping them from building the mall and bringing Walmart to the border of Kensington Market.

 

Click here to help the Kensington Market community commission independent planning and economic impact studies to level the playing field against "goliath" developer Riocan at the OMB hearing: https://projexity.com/projects/view/Save-Kensington-Market-from-Big-Box/18"

 

 

Update: On July 19th, City Council passed an Interim Control By-law covering both sides of Bathurst St. for a period of one year. It is a pause in development to allow for the Bathurst Street Study to be completed and new and updated rules put into place for the corridor. You can read more here: http://mikelayton.ca/interim-control-by-law-for-bathurst-street.

We are pleased to see the city and the planning department slow down to take a look at what is appropriate for Bathurst Street. There are still concerns, however, that Riocan or any developer with projects in this corridor could appeal the by-law to the OMB. It's more important than ever to be prepared to counter Riocan's claim that the shopping mall will have no negative impacts on adjacent neighbourhoods and shopping districts. To that end, Friends of Kensington Market has teamed up with Projexity to crowd-fund professional studies showing realistic business and traffic impacts on Kensington Market and other adjacent areas. To learn more and contribute: https://projexity.com/projects/view/Save-Kensington-Market-from-Big-Box/18

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. A Win For Kensington Market! Celebrate this Sunday!

      We did it! Thanks to all of you, we won for Kensington Market and Toronto! There will not be a Walmart on the edge of Kensington Market!

      Friends of Kensington Market has gotten concessions from Riocan that will lessen the impact of their development on Kensington Market and our neighbours.

      Riocan has given up their plan for a giant retail-only development with Walmart as the anchor tenant and brought forward a better plan for Bathurst and Nassau.

      Watch here to see what we achieved! : http://youtu.be/oXR7wA3gSjI

      And If you’re in Toronto, please celebrate with us at Pedestrian Sunday, July 27th at 6:00 on Augusta near Bellevue Square Park!

      Last Monday July 14th, the Riocan proposal for 410 Bathurst St. went before the OMB. As you probably know, Riocan brought forward a new proposal that the City of Toronto accepted. After much behind the scenes pressure and discussion, Friends of Kensington Market got a few more concessions and agreed to withdraw their objection at the OMB. There is much to celebrate:

      Firstly, No Walmart! Riocan has agreed that Walmart will not be a tenant in the development for at least 15 years.

      And it’s a better building overall:

      -The development will now be genuine mixed use, with two floors of offices.

      -The retail has been reduced from the original 130,000 square feet to 71,000 square feet; and the single biggest retail reduced from 90,000 square feet to 45,000 square feet.

      -A big win for pedestrians: 4.8m sidewalks with trees vs the original 3.3m with no trees; a 24/7 pedestrian walkway connecting Bathurst and Markham Streets and a better transition to the neighbourhood behind via a 45-degree angular plane and a green wall.

      Thanks to the hard work of a fantastically dedicated core team of community members, our legal team, city planners, our city councillors Adam Vaughan and Mike Layton, and ALL OF YOU, this has been accomplished without the crippling costs of an OMB hearing.

      The developer has not only drastically changed their original plan, they have also recognized that even the revised plan will have impacts on the adjacent neighbourhoods and have made a contribution to FOKM towards our legal costs and towards initiatives to safeguard and strengthen Kensington Market.

      FOKM is already at work on projects to strengthen the essentials of Kensington Market: raw food and mixed income housing. Stay tuned!

      Victory - No Walmart in Kensington Market!

      Uploaded by Change.org Canada on 2014-07-25.

    2. Riocan brings forward a new proposal

      FOKM is cautiously optimistic about Riocan's new proposal. We are so proud and grateful for all your support that has wrung major concessions from Riocan, including keeping Walmart away from Kensington Market.

      We need to better understand the new plan's details before taking a position on it and will continue to work to get the best possible outcome for the community and for our city.

      Developer backs off Kensington Market Walmart plan

      After months of protest and outcry, it appears Walmart will not be coming to Kensington Market. A new plan from developer RioCan leaves no room for the major discount retailer from the development planned on Bathurst and Nassau Sts., just south of College St., according to Councillor Mike Layton.

    3. Urgent: Riocan has appealed! One step closer to building the mall &Walmart

      We’ve just learned that Riocan has quietly submitted an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), challenging the current bylaw preventing development on Bathurst for one year, and asking the OMB to allow the site to be rezoned to let them build their mall. If the OMB rules in Riocan's favour, there will be nothing left stopping them from building the mall and bringing Walmart to the border of Kensington Market.

      Click here to help the Kensington Market community commission independent planning and economic impact studies to level the playing field against "goliath" developer Riocan at the OMB hearing: www.friendsofkensingtonmarket.com

    4. Riocan appeals to the OMB

      ww.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/09/17/bylaw_that_blocked_kensingtonarea_walmart_to_be_appealed_to_omb.html

    5. Reached 75,000 signatures
    6. Global News: Petition to keep Wal-Mart out of Toronto’s Kensington Market..

      http://globalnews.ca/news/613900/petition-to-keep-wal-mart-out

      TORONTO – A petition urging city planners to block a plan to build a Wal-Mart near Kensington Market is gaining support.

      Over 42,000 people have signed the petition, posted Sunday evening, which will be sent to community planner Liora Freeman and local councillor Mike Layton.

      Dominique Russell, the Kensington resident behind the petition, said Wal-Mart is absolutely inappropriate for the iconic and eclectic Toronto neighbourhood...

    7. CTV piece: Kensington Market residents petition against Walmart development

      http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/kensington-market-residents-petition-against-walmart-development-proposal-1.1310316

      Last week Toronto resident Dominique Russell started an online petition, addressed to Counc. Mike Layton and community planner Liora Freedman. It had attracted more than 35, 000 signatures by Tuesday....

    8. Reached 50,000 signatures

    Supporters

    @Jeanne_Beker

    Jun 05, 2013

    T.O.'s Kensington Mkt MUST be saved! Thanks for sending @missarah99: http://t.co/GcyCr6mbIh

    Jeanne Beker
    44.5k followers

    Reasons for signing

    • Humphrey McDonald OAKVILLE, CANADA
      • 3 months ago

      History of my 42 year in this country the place I shopped for my FRESH FOODS, and Music Production, meeting FAMILY and FRIENDS...

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • shanka fernando TORONTO, CANADA
      • 5 months ago

      Kensington Market is a unique in its small business culture, general earth friendly attitude and beauty. It's a "one in Toronto" type of place. A unique tourist attraction. Toronto loses if it gets modernized with big businesses.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • jane stewart TORONTO, CANADA
      • 5 months ago

      Toronto is really not doing itself justice to let mega companies with covert ethics run their city. I mean.....really? Ikea is the same. Destroy small business in an number of ways and cutting down creativity and diversity. It's so plain to see its hard to understand why they are even in Canada. Germany is definitely the smarter Country.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Chi Nguyen TORONTO, CANADA
      • 5 months ago

      Becuase walmart sucks and we need more culture and less greedy corporate operations.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Anna Arov TORONTO, CANADA
      • 5 months ago

      The best place in Toronto, a place of character and history.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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