Save the Springmount Ravine
We're raising funds to support the ongoing protection of the lands of the Springmount Ravine (an extension of the Davenport Escarpment) and to find long term solutions for the tenants who have called this area home for over 40 years.
Our initiative aims to benefit the broader community by preserving the beautiful natural landscape that is the heart and soul of Regal Heights, while continuing to provide affordable and mid-priced rental housing in the neighbourhood.
We will be using these funds to:
1) Offset expenses incurred over the past year in defeating a development proposal that put the area at immediate risk, including legal fees and lost wages.
2) Support our ongoing efforts to establish permanent protection for the Springmount Ravine and the people who live here.
In 2017, a local developer submitted a proposal that would have replaced two rental duplexes at Springmount Ave. and Regal Road with luxury townhouses, eliminating much of the abundant green space there, evicting decades-long tenants, and setting a precedent for unsustainable development along the ravine and throughout Regal Heights.
We formed the Springmount Collective in response to this threat, and built a coalition between the tenants at risk, nearly 100 concerned neighbours, and all three levels of government, including Toronto's Urban Forestry and Legal Services departments who also opposed the development.
Over the past year, we have been engaged in an extended legal battle with the developer, culminating in a series of hearings at the Committee of Adjustments and the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB). Through countless hours of hard work and smart strategy, our team defeated the developer in the first two rounds, and the developer then withdrew their appeal one week before the third and final hearing.
The Toronto Star recently ran a feature on us and our work: Street fight pits residents against developer in battle to save homes
With most of the work and all of the costs carried by a small team of volunteers, the battle was both expensive and exhausting. Although we initially hired legal support, the unusual complexity of the case, the extremely tight TLAB deadlines, and our tiny budget forced us to take a do-it-yourself approach, including extensive research, meetings with stakeholders, preparing evidence submissions, and ultimately going head-to-head against seasoned professionals at the hearings.
This proved to be the right decision: between the broad range of skills within our team, our intimate knowledge of the lands under threat, and our deep concern and personal investment in the outcome, we were able to mount a much stronger case and argue it more effectively at a fraction of the cost.
All of this was crucial in winning at TLAB, but it required some team members to set aside their careers and work on the case full time for days, and sometimes weeks at a time, which took a financial toll well beyond our legal fees. As such, a portion of your donation will help offset lost wages for those team members so they can continue their work in protecting the Springmount Ravine.
Our victories have earned us a temporary reprieve, but the neighbourhood, the escarpment, and the tenants are still at risk from future development applications. Your donation will help us continue to work towards finding a positive, sustainable solution that can benefit many instead of just a few.
This project has been a labour of love for us. But it's also been quite a struggle to stand up to a well-financed developer, relying only on our own personal resources and time. We gratefully welcome any contribution you can make to help us keep moving forward. And thanks to everyone who already made a cash donation at the RHRA's Annual General Meeting.
The Springmount Collective
Talk with us and share your views on Facebook:
Springmount Collective Facebook Group
Read more about our project in the media:
Radio-Canada (French CBC): Residents oppose real estate project in Toronto's Regal Heights neighborhood
Radio-Canada: Toronto real estate project rejected after objection from local residents
Radio-Canada: Conflict of Interest Forces New Hearings on Real Estate Project in Toronto
Globe and Mail: Plan to redevelop lots on ravine slope in Toronto triggers outcry from residents
The Regal Heights Resident's Association (RHRA) has created an information portal here:
RegalHeights.ca: Zoning Matter on Springmount — Make Your Views Known