The retail landlord aiming to bring Wal-Mart to a site near Toronto's downtown Kensington Market is asking the Ontario Municipal Board to overturn a city council vote that stalled the development.
RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust wants to build a three-storey 130,000-square-foot retail complex with a Wal-Mart on Bathurst Street south of College, but the city has placed a one-year freeze on development in the area. RioCan is challenging the city's move, enacted in July following local opposition to the development.
RioCan chief executive officer Ed Sonshine said his firm does not believe the freeze, imposed through an interim control bylaw, is appropriate and should not apply to his company's development because of the length of time it has been before the city. "We've been at this for two years," Mr. Sonshine said. "We had no choice but to appeal."
Councillor Adam Vaughan, who represents the ward adjacent to the proposed development, said the appeal, filed last week, comes as no surprise.
"We think the future of Bathurst Street ought to be decided by Torontonians, not by some panel appointed by Queen's Park," he said. "We will do what we have to do to protect Kensington and Bathurst Street and it would be nice if RioCan and the OMB would give us the space and time to do it."