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Eastboro Development Update and response to Ashcroft

I wanted to address comments that developer Ashcroft have made to those who continue to await homes in the new Eastboro Development (off Navan Road).

As you are all aware, a large portion of our ward is under development, and I’ve never encountered a situation where people have been waiting on their homes for such a long time. I have great sympathy for the homeowners that are in this situation.

It has come to my attention that some residents have been provided an update by the developer, and I wanted to publicly comment on some inaccuracies.

It is factual that the current road closure and sewer work being conducted on Navan Road are to address deficiencies in the work that was completed last year. The sanitary sewer work that Ashcroft contracted last year has deficiencies, and the work that is being undertaken now is remedial work to correct that. There is also the allegation that the remaining storm sewer work is not proceeding due to resistance from myself regarding the extensive road closure that would be required. It is accurate that I have absolutely expressed concern with Ashcroft’s plan to close this very important connection to our existing communities for an estimated 6 months. Addressing the congestion pressures in the area has been one of my top priorities since being elected in 2020, and I have not been satisfied that closing this artery would not have an unreasonable impact on surrounding communities. I have supported City staff and Ashcroft in exploring other options that would reduce the impact that this extended road closure would have. However, since these options have not worked out, my focus has turned to ensuring robust protections are in place to prevent construction from dragging out as the last time they closed the road, they were over 2 months late in reopening it.

The real reason this work cannot proceed is because a front ending agreement is required (a financial agreement between Ashcroft and the City) before the City will allow construction to proceed. Due to the size of the sewer, the City will pay for a portion of the cost of the sewer through Development Charges. While Ashcroft could proceed on the cost basis identified in the current Development Charges Bylaw, due to increases in the expected costs, Ashcroft is seeking additional funding for these works. City Staff and Ashcroft must agree on these costs and the proportion of funding to be provided, in order to update the Development Charges Bylaw. Discussions on this point remain ongoing. Once the bylaw is updated, the City must enter into a Front Ending Agreement with Ashcroft that will outline the terms of the repayment and the works to be completed. The City will not allow construction to proceed until the necessary legal agreements are in place, as doing so could result in significant liability. It is very unusual to be in this situation with a developer and for them to be urging residents to reach out to their Councillor to resolve a matter on their behalf. It is important that Ashcroft be upfront with their purchasers. The process to get a front ending agreement in place will take at least 4-6 months, given the legal requirement that a background study for any amendment to the Development Charges Bylaw must be posted online for at least 60 days before it can be passed. This will push the start of construction out to sometime next spring, with completion in the fall.

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