Eye on Development

Could community benefits be a part of the new 2 Robinson Ave. development?

Cynthia Mitchell

A small community group is hoping to ensure Sandy Hill residents are a part of, and benefit from, the new development being proposed for 2 Robinson Ave. The development will be built on the site of the former Iranian Cultural Centre, just south of the Sandy Hill Arena, at the southwest corner of Chapel Street and Lees Avenue.

Affordable housing, energy efficiency, a grocery store, and  recreational, health and cultural spaces were some of the “wish list” items discussed at a recent kick-off meeting regarding the development.

The group, which includes representatives from Action Sandy Hill, the LeBreton Flats Community Benefits Coalition, Co-opérative d’habitation Voisins and the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, met virtually on Tuesday, Nov. 17 to learn about community benefits agreements (CBAs) and discussed a plan for moving forward.

Kaeli Van Regan, a member of the Le-Breton Flats CBA coalition and the facilitator for the kick-off meeting, explained that “CBAs enable communities to play a meaningful role in the planning and execution of a development.” They also carry weight, as they are a legally binding agreement between project developers and community groups.

This last point might cause some developers to baulk, but CBAs actually end up being a cost saver for them and can pave the way for a much smoother approval process at the City.

Considering the development being proposed for 2 Robinson Ave. is a large one—at over 1,500 new rental units—it will undoubtedly bring a lot of change to our neighbourhood. We have the potential with a CBA to ensure that some of these changes reflect the needs of our community and provide amenities and spaces that will benefit current and future residents for years to come.

A crucial part of any CBA is reaching out to the community for input and ideas. The working group will be meeting soon to discuss how best to hear from you. Your ideas, needs and hopes will help to ensure this new development has benefits for Sandy Hill!

Be sure to stay tuned to IMAGE for more information, and contact Susan Young ( if you are interested in joining the working group.

Illustration RLA Architecture