Skale Developments, DON'T “SKALE” BACK on Safe and Healthy Housing in Parkdale: Skale Developments fail to submit required environmental reports and have provided ZERO information about how they will clean up any contamination left behind by the previous gas station.
Many long-time community members remember the old gas station and 7-Eleven that were previously on this site before it was left vacant for more than two decades. Many community members understand the ways low-income working-class racialized neighborhoods become sites of institutional disinvestment and places of systemic environmental racism, where toxic waste is left to accumulate and threaten the health of the community for the sake of capturing increasing profits. Case in point, Imperial Oil ‘purchased this site’ in Nov 1920 for $1 and sold it for $1.9 million dollars in 2020.
Not everyone knows, however, that in 2016 Parkdale Neighbourhood Land Trust (PNLT) attempted to purchase this lot in order to bring it into community ownership and provide a range of affordable housing and other community benefits. Imperial Oil, the lot owners, would only sell to parties who had the fiscal capacity to uphold legal responsibility for all past, present, and future contamination that may exist on the site. Opportunities for community ownership and governance were lost when PNLT could not find political or financial support to pursue the opportunity. It is appalling to see that Imperial Oil cited environmental responsibility as a reason not to sell to the Land Trust when Skale Developers have failed to publicly address possible contamination nor demonstrated any concern for community wellbeing in light of the potential contamination and health risks.
Skale Developments is obligated to submit and make publicly available environmental assessments and other related environmental reports that outline all environmental remediations that have been ordered and/or recommended. Environmental remediation refers to the removal of pollution or contaminants from soil, groundwater, sediment, surface water, and other forms of environmental media. Remedial action is usually subject to a range of regulatory requirements, and may also be based on assessments of human health and ecological risks where no legislative standards exist, or where standards are advisory. The Justice for Queen and Close community coalition demands Skale Developments uphold clear environmental monitoring and reporting mechanisms. The deceptive and bad faith manner in which Skale Developments has bamboozled the Parkdale community through false promises of affordable housing to gain a development approval makes their silence and omissions concerning the potential contamination on this site particularly worrisome.
Skale Developments has failed to submit the required environmental reports. The Contamination Site Assessment report required by the City is not listed in the application materials submitted on the development application portal, nor have we found a reference to it in the environmental reports submitted.
Skale Developments has failed to make environmental assessment reports publicly available. While the environmental assessment report was named in the Hydrogeological and Geotechnical report, the assessment itself is not publicly available.
Skale Developments is creating a cloak of confusion around any potential contamination on this site. Despite this site being a well-known gas station for many decades, Skale Developments' application package does not include information about potential contamination and remediation ordered or recommended. Adding insult to injury, Skale has only opted into the mandatory tier 1 requirement, out of a possible 4 tier system of the Toronto Green Standards checklist. We implore Skale Developments to temper their greed, pursue full environmental remediation, and build robust transparency and accountable health and safety measures.
Justice for Queen and Close community coalition see safe and affordable housing as interconnected. We say NO to any development that prioritizes ballooning profits over safe, affordable, and dignified housing.