Usually when we are reporting on new condominium proposals, we talk about a local group that is fighting a development for whatever reasons, be it shadowing, traffic or heights. It’s very rare that we see a major business take on a developer because they are fearful that they would have to be held to a higher environmental standard.
Well, that very rare situation seems to be unfolding in front of our eyes, as Toronto’s Nestlé chocolate factory has taken an extremely aggressive approach to The Sterling, one that is somewhat surprising. As described in Friday’s Toronto Star, Nestlé has launched an aggressive campaign against Castlepoint Studio Partners plan at the tower. The rational? The company fears that it would have to spend more money on upgrades and environmental retrofitting.
“It changes the rules under which we operate. We operate the factory under the rules of an industrial-zoned area. It changes requirements, for example from an environmental perspective, in terms of how much odor you can emit and how much noise,” Catherine O’Brien, vice-president of corporate affairs for Nestlé’ said to the Toronto Star.
“I got home last night to a barrage of a number of people who were quite upset about Nestlé’s approach at this stage of the game,” said Philip Share, co-chair of the South Perth and Sterling Road Residents’ Association. People in the area have been largely supportive of the development, Share told the Star
For those unaware, Castlepoint has invested more than $5 million to redevelop and clean up an area that was an environmental hazard. The plan is to take that land, which was once unusable, and develop it into a cool place to live with walkable streets, 700 homes and more than 2,500 jobs, which goes in the face of the Nestle flyer that reads; “More condos mean fewer good jobs.”
Far be it from us to ask about corporate affairs and environmental retrofitting — we are real estate development nerds — but this one seems a bit over the top, and perhaps the definition of NIMBYism. Nestlé is concerned that a new development will force them to be held to higher standards of what they put in the air, and the noise that they make. We always thought that it was a positive thing when a company invests in ensuring that our environment is improved, which is something that Castlepoint has already done for local residents.
We are all for the process and allowing legitimate grievances, but this one seems like a corporate entity trying to hold back what could be a significant addition to the area for entirely selfish gain.
We look forward to seeing this process play out, and we hope that Nestlé re-assesses their strategy moving forward.