The Ford government has rejected the City of Toronto’s plans for the areas of Yonge and Eglinton and the downtown core, with the municipal affairs minister saying the plan needs to allow for denser housing near transit hubs.

It’s a move Mayor John Tory says he’s stunned by and still had not been properly informed of on Wednesday afternoon.

In July 2018, the City of Toronto made amendments to its official plan for the downtown core and the Yonge and Eglinton area.

Both amendments generally accept that the areas will become denser than they are now but allow for balance with language preserving “mixed communities” with a range of housing densities, preservation and possible expansion of area parkland, and in the downtown’s case, an emphasis on developing new transit and cycling infrastructure and an emphasis on a low-carbon future.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark says he has rejected both plan amendments, and sent them back to the city with his own modifications.

“It’s my intention today to modify Official Plan Amendments 405 and 406 to send a number of modifications back to the city to really reflect our government’s priorities,” Clark said.

He said the city’s plans do not allow for dense enough areas around Eglinton Station and downtown TTC stops, something he heard often during consultations conducted with industry.

“We have to ensure that we have people living close to transit . . . people wanted us to intensify near major transit stations.”

In the city’s original plan amendment for Yonge and Eglinton, buildings constructed immediately adjacent to Eglinton Station were restricted to a height of 58 storeys on the northeast corner, 65 floors on the southeast corner and 27 to 37 floors on the northwest corner, with generally lower height restrictions on areas flowing out in each direction from the intersection.

The Ford government’s changes would allow tower of up to 35 floors to be built farther afield from the intersection.

Toronto Mayor John Tory has said he was told of the rejection by the province via text message last night.

He said he’s “mystified” as to why he was not told ahead of time and still is not sure what exactly the province disliked about the city’s plans.

“I think when it comes to a matter of serious documents prepared by our professional planners after years of consultation, that the least they could do when they send those back is a proper consultation and at least a phone call with the mayor just saying ‘we are going to send this back, here’s why and we’re willing to sit down and talk to you about it,’ but none of that happened,” Tory said, adding he and his staff had never been consulted about any changes and still is not sure what they consist of.

Clark said he is rejecting the city’s plans for these areas to give more options for housing for young people who feel priced out of transit-connected parts of Toronto.

“My message is to that that couple in their 20s or 30s who don’t see an opportunity around a major transit hub to live, that I’m providing them those opportunities, because those are voices are not presently heard right now in the planning process.”

Clark rejected suggestions that this is another example, following the decree that Toronto council be cut in half and provincial government upload the subway system, of the PCs meddling in Toronto affairs.

“This file was posted on the environmental registry for 90 days . . . it was there for public comments and for comments from the proponent. We had a consultation period and it should come as no surprise that these official plan amendments reflect government priorities.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory has said he was told of the rejection by the province via text message last night.

Downtown councillors Joe Cressy, Kristyn Wong-Tam and Mike Layton issued a joint statement saying work on the plan for downtown Toronto took seven years to complete, calling the province's rejection the start of "Wild West for developers."

"This Government’s disrespect and outright contempt for the City of Toronto and Torontonians is unlike anything we have ever seen. It is not acceptable. We will not stand for it.”