A widely debated proposal for a Wal-Mart store near Kensington Market has been stalled after Toronto city council passed a temporary by-law preventing new developments on Bathurst Street for one year.
The by-law was passed without debate or discussion at Friday’s city council meeting and restricts new building developments on both sides of Bathurst Street from Dupont to Queen streets for one year while the city prepares a land-use study. This includes a controversial proposal from RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust for a three-story retail complex with a Wal-Mart store.
Councillor Mike Layton represents the ward and brought forward the by-law to give the city time to research what kind of effect big-box stores might have on the area. While he said the Wal-Mart proposal played a role, he added that the uncertainty surrounding some lots, such as the site of Honest Ed’s, which was recently put up for sale, spurred him to investigate what the future of Bathurst Street might look like.
The Wal-Mart proposal required public consultation that has been largely negative toward putting a big box store in the diverse, small-retail Kensington neighbourhood. Mr. Layton agreed with a lot of residents’ concerns that it would change the feel and the demographic of the area.