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St. Lawrence Market — Smart Neighbourhood

Group provides framework to manage growth in St. Lawrence community

Excerpt of an article by W.D. Lighthall – Toronto Star

Facing a growing list of condo buildings planned within their community, members of the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood Association decided to get a whole lot smarter about dealing with new development.

The residents’ association for the downtown Toronto neighbourhood teamed up with Eneract, which works to promote renewable energy and sustainability initiatives.

Together, the two organizations created something called smartliving St. Lawrence, a broad-based framework for managing new development in the community.

But more than that, smartliving St. Lawrence is also a means for delivering energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable initiatives to those already living and working in the neighbourhood.

“The decisions we make today — and this is right up front in smart living — should be based in large measure on the kind of world we want to leave our kids and grandchildren,” says Cameron Miller, president of the St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood Association.

“When you wander around our neighbourhood, it’s a developer’s paradise and we need to get on top of it,” says Paul Smith, president of the St. Lawrence Market Condominium Ratepayers’ Association.

With a population of 18,000, the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood stretches from the railway tracks near the Gardiner Expressway north to Queen St. E., and from Yonge to Parliament Sts.

Within those boundaries, at least nine mid-rise or highrise condo projects are selling or planned.

Already existing in the area are 36 condominium buildings, 12 housing co-ops and a half dozen socially assisted housing complexes.

Miller says more condo developments — many more, in fact — are expected to follow those currently underway.

Work on smartliving St. Lawrence began in spring 2004, when Miller says his association came to the realization that a more comprehensive approach was needed.

To do that, the neighbourhood association obtained funding to develop smartliving St. Lawrence, including a $113,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and an $80,000 grant from the Toronto Atmospheric Fund.

Economically, smartliving St. Lawrence (http://www.smartliving.ca/) means supporting local businesses and employers and developing job-growth strategies.Under the environmental component, smartliving will offer condo boards, building managers and area residents and businesses seminars on subjects such as retrofitting older buildings and reducing energy use.

“What we’re doing with the smartliving St. Lawrence program, we’re creating a template for other communities to adopt,” says Marans.Although the St. Lawrence Market design guidelines aren’t mandatory for developers planning condos in the area, they have been approved by city council and will be part of the discussion during the community consultation process.

Aspen Ridge Homes is planning to redevelop the old Goodwill site, which extends from George to Jarvis Sts. and from Adelaide to Richmond Sts.The VU plan includes about 500 condo units, in two highrise towers rising from a low-rise podium.

The Canada Green Building Council reports that, for mid-rise and highrise condo buildings, achieving basic-level LEED status adds 1 to 3% to construction costs. (Some in the building industry say that’s a conservative estimate.)In the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood, Context has built the Mozo condominium, has the 45-storey Spire under construction, and is planning a third project in the area.

While not specifically built to the LEED standard, Poplak says there are many sustainable features in Mozo and Spire.

“The St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood was a pioneer in urban regeneration. It makes sense that they would embrace forward thinking as far as new development in the community and in retrofitting” older buildings, says Poplak.

Su Cadogan, who has lived for the past 26 years in a housing co-op in St. Lawrence Market, says the neighbourhood needs smart living.

Many of the area’s older condo and co-op buildings are reaching an age where they require mechanical retrofits or other upgrades, notes Cadogan.

Read the full article
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Contact the Jeffrey Team for more info on St. Lawrence Market


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