August 22, 2023

Round 4: jfm+ Summary of Engagement

Over the course of more than two years, the jfm+ process has engaged more than 2,000 community members in conversations about the future of the Mall Site. All of those conversations have fed into developing a Proposal to secure a long-term framework for change within the City’s policy and regulatory framework in this final phase of the pre-application process. A final stakeholder session and Open Doors event was held prior to the submission of the application to the City of Toronto to present this Proposal for feedback and to answer any questions that folks may have about the Proposal itself or the process moving forward. A presentation was also made to the Jane Finch Initiative’s Community Advisory Committee with the same information and intent.

While the purpose of these events was to get information out to the community on the submission, feedback was recorded and will be accounted for to the extent possible within future processes and revisions that may be made to the Proposal throughout the City’s application process.

The following table presents a summary of what we heard.

Process (past and future)
  • Many reiterated thanks to the whole project team, including the community animators, for this process and appreciated the amount of effort the Mall Owners have put into this project and process:
    • “It has the Jane Finch stamp on it with respect to issues and concerns discussed and valid conversations.”
    • “Wonderful work. I want to thank the Owners who have shepherded and been open to having this process.”
  • People were comforted by assurance that the Mall Owners have intentions to remain involved in the evolution of the Site
  • There were concerns that future partners may not hold the same aspirations for the Site and won’t have connections to the community
  • There were desires to keep the spirit of this process alive for all future developments in the neighbourhood
Overall impressions
  • Many were encouraged and enthused by the Proposal that was presented:
    • “Looks amazing!”
    • “Excited, new opportunities”
  • Some were skeptical that the Proposal may not be implemented as described but hoped that it would:
    • “Looks beautiful, but could be too good to be true.”
  • Some of the tallest heights continued to be a concern for some
  • One person noted that there are generational differences amongst the community. Speaking from the perspective of a person from the younger generation, they felt those in their generation may be more hesitant to change because they are worried about how it may alter the cultural and social fabric of the community
  • There were some comments about the Proposal itself, including:
    • Retail: Like the “Ground level stores and activities”
    • Shadowing: “Where is the sun?”
    • Landscaping: “Plant fruit trees,” “Green roofs should have gardens to help with food security”
    • Accessibility: “It should be designed for easy accessibility for seniors.”
Future retail and services
  • Future retail, services, and businesses on the Site should be reflective of all community members and continue to allow for opportunities for small businesses:
    • “What or who controls the number of retail spaces that are “mom and pop shops” versus name brand / franchise / big box stores?”
  • The community and tenants were curious to know how much the retail space would shrink by in the short and long term and if there would be spaces for existing tenants in the new retail spaces:
    • “How do we ensure that existing small businesses on the Site can continue to thrive as new development takes place?”
    • "Will there be office space for medical services?"
  • Many were happy that the Mall would remain in an interim condition within the short-term timeframe and wanted to know more about how that would work and what the Mall would be like in those phases:
    • “Will the Mall / Site keep its namesake and branding?”
Parking and mobility
  • There were questions about how vehicular congestion would be mitigated given the number of buildings and stores planned for the Site
  • There were also questions about parking for the residential and retail uses, including:
    • Whether parking would be above or below-grade;
    • if it would cost to park there as a visitor; and,
    • how much of it would be available at each stage and phase of development.
Community benefits

Many of the thoughts shared and questions asked were related to the community benefits pillars of the proposal.

  • Comments included:
    • Support for the community space and potential co-working space
    • Desire for more affordable housing (incl. family-sized units)
    • Support for prioritizing local residents in future housing opportunities on the Site (affordable and market)
    • Encouragement to set targets for small businesses / local economic development commitments to ensure monitoring and accountability
  • Questions included:
    • “Who is going to fund this?”
    • “Is any of the small business support looking at existing retailers and how they transition?”
    • “Will there be investment in start-ups and providing access to funding for micro-retail spaces?”
    • “How are members of the various committees selected?”
    • “Will rents be accessible for the existing community?”
  • Overall, people were really happy with the process and had respect for it. Their concerns were about implementation, ensuring that the project happens as planned:
    • Happy with ideas, worried about details and being promised things that can’t be delivered
    • Also worried that future engagement processes will not be as thoughtful as this one
  • Some were concerned about the impact that construction of each phase of development will have on the community, especially around the intersection:
    • “Will there be breaks in construction?”
    • There was an interest to know more about construction management plans for the long-term build out

Stay tuned for future updates on our News & Events page, including further details on the application. You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive notifications as events, news and other content are added to our site.