1. Have you retained counsel and expert witnessess? 

Yes. We have retained:

  • Isaac Tang, Partner - Borden Ladner Gervais. 
    • Isaac is a well respected partner in the Municipal and Land Use Planning bar in Toronto. His work primarily surrounds acting for large institutional development clients (e.g., developers that build high-rise condo towers) and public sector clients (e.g., the Government of Ontario). 

  • Ian Graham, Director (urban planning) - R.E. Millward & Associates.
    • Ian is the Director of Planning for R.E. Millward & Associates.  He has over 34 years of professional planning experience in land use and urban planning projects. Ian has also previously worked in the City of Toronto's Planning Division. 
  • Robert Freedman, Principal (urban design) - Freedman Urban Solutions.
    • Robert has over 30 years of experience in urban design including experience in New York as part of the New York Main Street Alliance and at UDA Architects. Robert was also the Director of the City of Toronto's Urban Design division for over 10 years. Robert started his career as a lawyer at Goodmans LLP
  • We may also retain other expert witnessess as needed (e.g., traffic).

The fact that we have been able to retain Mr. Tang, Graham and Freedman speak to the merits of our case. Highly acclaimed Land Use and Planning experts do not typically act for not-profts such as ours since the bulk of their business comes from developers like the Gupta Group. Isaac, Ian and Robert have agreed to be retained by us because they believe in our case and their ability to achieve a successful result for our neighbourhood. 

2. What is the process moving forward?

  • The Gupta Group has requested that the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) set a three week trial in 2023. The date for this trial will be sometime in October.

  • Prior to this trial, there is an opportunity for a mediation hearing with Gupta, likely during Q1 or Q2 of 2023. The purpose of this mediation is to ascertain whether or not the developer will agree to a scaled down version of the original design, i.e., a mid-rise building rather than a high rise. 

  • Should Gupta be amenable to changing their design, BBGPI will request a revised plan for a mid rise building. We will not negotiate any further if they refuse to consider a mid rise scenario for the site - and the issue will go to the OLT for trial in October.

  • While our team of lawyers and planners believe we have a legitimate case based on the facts, a positive decision is not guaranteed. However, should we do nothing, the project is almost certain to go ahead as per Gupta Group’s original plan. There will be a 25 story tower at the corner of Bayview and Broadway and a precedent will be set for future developments at this intersection.

3. How much will this cost?

We have retained legal counsel and expert witnesses to help us in our case. Isaac Tang, Ian Graham and Robert Freedman are experts at the top of their profession and they do not come cheap. The OLT only allows experts such as the ones we have retained to testify at their hearings.  

In addition, there are costs related to incorporation of BBGPI which is a necessity to avoid individual liability. Below is an estimated breakdown of these costs:

  • Incorporation and yearly corporate maintenance - $10,000
  • Accounting Fees - $1,000
  • Principal Lawyer Fees ($600/hour) x 15 days tribunal (10 hours per day) - $90,000
  • Expert witness fees (approximatley $65,000 per expert witness) - $130,000
  • Contingency (additional legal fees, expert witness fees, etc.) - $20,000
  • Total required = $250,000.

BBGPI will not engage in a pointless debate with the Gupta Group about high-rise versus mid-rise. Developers typically do this to drain funds from the opposing organization. Rather, if mediation is unsuccessful, we will apply the funds we raise to the trial in October.

4. There are at least two other proposals for high-rise buildings in this neighbourhood – one at Glazebrook & Bayview and the other on the site of the Esso station. Will we have to go through this whole process again with each of these developments?

The short answer is, not likely. The project at 1837 Bayview (the Gupta Proposal) is first in the queue and the decision on this development will likely set a precedent for what is approved across the street.  It will be extremely difficult for a developer to make a case for a 34 story building if the initial development for 25 storeys at 1837-1845 Bayview is turned down in favour of mid-rise. This means it is crucial to stop this development now in order to protect our neighbourhood from a influx of high rise buildings all around us.

5. What if you have leftover funds at the end of the Ontario Land Tribunal or any settlements?

All remaining funds in BBGPI's accounts will be returned pro-rata to those whom have donated at least $1,000.  We have set the $1,000 bar in order to streamline administration (e.g., it will be very onerous and expensive to return very small amounts to many donors), and to encourage donations of at least $1,000 in order to reach our funding goal. 

6. Is there any other way to oppose the project? 

At this point, and unfortunatley, not really.  The Tribunal has already laid out who can be a party to the proceedings. BBGPI is the only party outside of the City of Toronto and the developer who will be allowed oppose the project.  The Ontario Land Tribunal typically only takes expert witness testimony into account (i.e., professionals like Ian Graham and Robert Freedman whom we have retained). 

The process is slanted in the developers favour, but BBGPI is just as organized and ready to defend the neighbourhood.

7. How will counsel be instructued? 

BBGPI has instructed counsel to obtain the best result possible for the neighbourhood in the context of the current legislative environment (e.g., lowest height and least impact to the neighbourhood and existing homes). Our defence team has advised BBGPI that they can mount a credible defence that the 1837 Bayview site should be zoned as a "mid-rise" site (the definition of mid-rise site is available here), as opposed to the current proposal of "high-rise". 

BBGPI is relying on our retained experts to guide any decisions going forward, including any potential settlement discussions. BBGPI will not accept any settlment that does not involve the proposal being a mid-rise site, at maximum. 

8. How can I donate? 

That's easy! Simply click here for further instructions. 

9. Will you keep me up to date if I donate?

Yes. We will provide regular updates to all those who donate.

10. Who can I contact if I have any additional questions? 

Please reach out to us at [email protected]. We would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.