TORONTO – A proposal to build a three-storey mall that includes a Walmart store in the heart of Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood is getting the cold shoulder from a majority of residents across the city, according to a recent Forum Research poll.
A telephone poll conducted on June 25 reveals that 60 per cent of Torontonians are opposed to the inclusion of a Walmart store near Kensington Market at Bathurst Street and Nassau Street.
The U.S.-based chain store is part of a plan by RioCan, Canada’s largest real estate investment trust, to build a 12,000 square metre retail building.
The poll numbers were compiled with results from all across the city including Toronto, North York, Etobicoke, East York and Scarborough.
Opposition was strongest among females (65 per cent), those who use transit (64 per cent) and those among high income groups in between $80,000 to $100,000.
Forum Research surveyed 1,239 randomly selected residents across the city. Results are considered accurate within 3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
So far tens of thousands of people have signed a petition opposing the plan, which the city has already rejected once, saying it would threaten the neighbourhoods of Kensington Market and Little Italy.
Last May, city council rejected the initial proposal and RioCan’s request to overlook a series of variances in city zoning bylaws.
RioCan appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, which upheld the city’s rejection, saying the project is so big it would need its own site-specific rezoning.
In April, RioCan applied for a zoning amendment in order to build the complex. The proposal will once again go before city council.
-With files from Heather Loney