Wednesday, January 27, 2010

51 Lake Shore Drive Update

51 Lake Shore Drive Update and Summary of events since OMB Hearing

Hi Folks

We wanted to provide a summary and update on what has happened since the OMB Hearing adjourned

November 25, 2009:
At the OMB-Ontario Municipal Board
hearing it was discovered there is a significant discrepancy between the 1909 property survey of 51 Lake Shore Drive and the survey Dunpar did in 2006. Since 1909 the lot depth at 51 Lake Shore has increased by approximately 70 feet in the backyard toward the lake.

The OMB hearing was adjourned so that Dunpar, the City, and the TRCA-
Toronto Region and Conservation Authority
, could determine who actually owns the land along the lake shoreline.

The OMB could not give a fair ruling until it is settled if Dunpar owns all of 51 Lakeshore Drive, or if an additional 70 feet of backyard is owned by the province.

The lake bed is crown land owned by the province. If someone puts landfill on the lakebed without provincial permission than the ownership of that land stays with the province, and it is public land. The developer can apply to the province to buy the land and that decision is made by the MNR-
Ministry of Natural Resources.

December 9, 2009:
Dunpar’s lawyer applied to the Ontario Land Registry office for absolute title to 51 Lake Shore Drive even though the ownership issue of the 70 foot piece that was not originally part of the backyard is still unresolved.

Dupar is responsible to give public notice of their application for absolute title, which they didn’t do. The public notice allows the community to register any objections they may have to granting Dunpar absolute title to the entire piece of property at 51 Lake Shore.

January 6, 2010:
A community member found out about the application for absolute title and they discovered the deadline for the public to comment was Tuesday, January 12th.

Due to some very fast work and organizing by Terry Smith and others, six local residents and CCFEW-
Citizens Concerned for the Etobicoke Waterfront
submitted affidavits to Dunpar’s lawyer before deadline, objecting to granting absolute title to Dunpar. I have attached my letter to this e-mail.

Without Terry’s vigilance and work we might have lost the opportunity to comment, and have our input considered in the decision-making process.

The objections highlighted:
The extra 70 feet of backyard lot depth created since the 1909 survey appears to be lake-fill on the lake bed which is provincial crown land. If this is the case that piece of 51 Lake Shore Drive belongs to the people of Ontario and should be kept in the public realm as public land. Historically, the community has had access to use this land as though it were public land.

A few people from the community met with Laurel Broten, the MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. They contacted the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Land Registry office with their concerns about 51 Lake Shore Drive. They highlighted the land ownership issue, the lack of public notice or chance for the public to object to the application for absolute title and the proposed development’s impact the window to the lake the community currently enjoys.

They ensured Ms. Broten and her staff; the former Minister of Natural Resources Donna Cansfield, the new Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffrey; and the Land Registry office all know the community has great interest in this property and the ownership issue. They were made aware that the community is very concerned about the possible sale of the extra lot depth to Dunpar if the province owns this piece of backyard.

The City of Toronto submitted comments as well – “Given that this application will impact on the ownership of an area that may otherwise be public lands, and the fact that the City is not aware if all affected Provincial Ministries have been provided with notice of this application, (we) simply wish to bring the matter to your attention for consideration in the course of your review of the application”.

The Land Registrar extended the deadline for submitting objections until February 26th
The Ministry of Natural Resources needs to do on-site work to evaluate any claim that the province/crown may have on the extra lot depth.

There was a recent Provincial cabinet shuffle and Donna Cansfield is no longer the Minister of Natural Resources. She was replaced by Linda Jeffrey, a Brampton MPP. There will be a two week reorganization period for the new minister and her staff to make the transfer.

Laurel Broten’s office has assured us that they are closely monitoring the situation and will alert the community as soon as any decision is made on the ownership of the lake front land at 51 Lake Shore Drive. If this is provincially owned crown land there will not be a quick sale of this property without the community knowing.

This way the community will receive an update and we will be able to communicate any developments to you as soon as possible. This works better many people contacting the province and City repeatedly asking for updates.

Laurel’s office is also going to look into policies on waterfront properties to help educate us on the history of similar properties that were available for sale, and they will work with the Ministry of Natural Resources to identify policies that MNR follows in handling the sale of water front land.

Councillor Grimes’ office has been contacted by the community and his staff will monitor what is happening too. We expect the ownership to be determined prior to the OMB case being resumed. Laurel Broten our MPP knows how difficult it is to preserve waterfront land or acquire waterfront land once it has been sold. In most cases once lakefront property is sold we lose it forever. Laurel also knows our community has a strong desire to protect our waterfront, our lake and our public spaces along the lake.

If we need the community to take action we will e-mail you know right away. Please check the blog for updates. Terry posts developments as they happen.

Please forward this e-mail to anyone who is interested.

Please send me an e-mail if you want to be added to the distribution list for 51 Lake Shore Drive, or if you wish to be removed.

Thanks very much,


Jem Cain

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