The ruling said “public engagement” needs to be considered for demolition to start
A motion to stop the destruction of the Dominion Foundry Complex, until a final review of the Ontario government’s application happens in late February, was granted on Friday.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted the motion, filed by the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, for an official pause on the destruction of the Dominion Foundry Complex by the provincial government.
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark said in a statement that he felt this decision was wrong.
“We had paused demolition as a good faith gesture towards the city,” said Clark. “It is disappointing that the City of Toronto is slowing down environmental remediation and the construction of new much-needed affordable housing and community space.”
In the ruling, Ontario Superior Court Justice David L. Corbett said the Ontario government made serious mistakes by ordering the foundry buildings to be demolished.
“It appears clear that the demolition began in contravention of the Heritage Act and in breach of Ontario’s obligations under the subdivision agreement between Ontario and the City of Toronto,” said Corbett.
Corbett said the foundry buildings are protected under the Heritage Act and there has to be “public engagement” before demolition can begin.
Toronto Centre city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam said in a statement that she was pleased the court ordered the demolition to be halted.
“I want to thank the thousands of residents who signed the petitions, joined in protest and donated to the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association’s legal defence fund,” said Wong-Tam. “In addition, my gratitude goes out once again to all the lawyers who support this application and the city staff, subject experts and residents who provided the supporting affidavits.”
Wong-Tam said she wants the Ontario government to commit to ending the demolition and begin consultations with the community and the Toronto government about the foundry buildings. She said to date, the Ontario government has demonstrated no interest in working with local residents or the city on the redevelopment of the site.
The ruling determined that the application to continue with the demolition will be heard by a panel of three judges on Feb. 26.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement that he hopes the two sides can use the time to resolve the dispute.
“I believe a path forward can be found that gets more affordable housing built and at the same time addresses community concerns around heritage and public consultation,” said Tory. “I want to thank the community for standing with the city to help protect this site.”
Initial demolition to tear down the buildings began on Jan. 14.
Friends of the Foundry, a Toronto community group, started a petition to stop demolition of the site on Jan. 15. The petition has garnered nearly 22,000 signatures since it started.
Friends of the Foundry launched a lawsuit fund against the demolition along with the petition. The fund has raised $15,125 out of its $40,000 goal.
The Ontario government halted the demolition until the first court hearing on Jan. 27.
The call for removal was put in place by the provincial government because the buildings have been abandoned for more than 40 years and require demolition to allow for environmental remediation. Clark said the buildings were being revitalized to allow for new affordable housing, market housing and community space.