The mayor of Vaughan has publicly scolded developers that cancel condo projects in the city north of Toronto.
“If you advertise projects, I expect them to be completed and I don’t expect anybody to be out in the cold,” said Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua at Vaughan’s committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday evening.
That committee met ahead of a Thursday meeting of the city’s committee of adjustment where buyers into cancelled condo projects are urging Vaughan against approving another development application from the Gupta Group.
Bevilacqua did not cite any particular developer in his Tuesday remarks. But two companies that cancelled projects near the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre last year, Gupta Group and Liberty Developments, both had applications before the committee, which is a forum to discuss the projects and hear community concerns.
The mayor said he doesn’t have any power to sanction developers. “But I do have moral persuasion and morality certainly on my side,” he said.
“Do not look for excuses that leave people out in the cold. It’s not going to be tolerated.”
Liberty Developments, which cancelled the Cosmos condos, is part of a group redeveloping Promenade Mall at Bathurst and Centre Sts.
The Gupta application discussed on Tuesday was for a 1,900-condo project at Yonge St. and Steeles Ave. W., not the site of its cancelled Icona project, where Gupta, which also operates Easton’s Group of Hotels, is applying to build a similar project to Icona, and for which Icona buyers, who received refunds a year after units were sold, are urging the city not to work with Gupta.
Ryan Mino-Leahan of KLM Planning Partners, which is representing the Yonge and Steeles Landowners Group, said Vaughan should not approve the Gupta application until that company becomes part of a cost-sharing arrangement.
The president of the Springfarm Ratepayers Association, Pam Taraday-Levy, also told the committee “it was very apparent (Gupta) were not interested in speaking to the community.”
“We are very concerned about the Gupta proposal not because it may or may not be appropriate for the area but because the developer has refused to meet with the community,” she said.
Liberty and some numbered companies associated with the Cosmos project are the subject of legal action by a group of 451 buyers who purchased condos in 2016 only to receive cancellation letters and refunds last spring.
Tess Kalinowski is a Toronto-based reporter covering real estate. Follow her on Twitter: @tesskalinowski