Happy New Year!  Volume 5, Issue 1, January 2016    

If you live or work in downtown Toronto, Canada, between Parliament and Sherbourne, Carlton and Shuter Streets, then we are your neighbourhood residents' association.  Join us!

We are taking a break until March 2016

Please note that our next meeting and AGM will be in March 2016.  Our present  Board needs to regroup and we need volunteers to sit on our 2016 Board.  The plan is to cut back on formal meetings and resurrect some of our social events/fund raisers, to better connect with area residents.  If you can spare a few hours a month to help out with the board or social committees we really need some new blood in the organization.  Please let us know if you are interested in helping organize some events or can spare a few hours a month to help guide our organization by contributing to the Board.  If you have any ideas or suggestions to strengthen our Board or new ideas for events and committees, please contact us at info@cabbagetownsouth.ca . 


Cabbagetown South donations to area causes.                     

Thanks to all our neighbours who supported the Donation Window at the Gerrard Street Beer Store.  By donating your empty liquor, wine and beer bottles through the donation window we were able to raise funds to help support neighbourhood charities such as the Lord Dufferin School Nutrition Program and Central Neighbourhood House.  Monies donated to Lord Dufferin School went towards their breakfast and snack programs.  Funds donated to Central Neighbourhood House helped in raising funds to help support refugee families new to the city.  For more information on Central Neighbourhood House, please click here . For information about Lord Dufferin School, please click here.  We have also used some of the funds raised to finance gardening projects around our neighbourhood.  

Please make use of the Donation Window for empty liquor/beer bottle returns at the Gerrard Street Store and help us help others and make our neighbourhood beautiful.


Proposed Development of Vacant Lot Sherbourne and Gerrard South East Corner

A public consultation regarding the proposed development for 307 Sherbourne Street will be held at Parliament Street Library, 269 Gerrard Street East on Wednesday, January 20, 2016 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  The lot formerly housed a gas station many years back and there had been a plan to build a new gas bar/convenience store on the lot.  That plan was scrapped and a new owner is proposing a 13 storey market rate rental apartment building.  The plan calls for 57 one bedroom, 32 two bedroom and 5 three bedroom apartment units.  43 parking spots will also be provided for tenants and guests.  It is our understanding the building will be wholly residential with no commercial/retail space.

 Ground floor commercial/retail space would be helpful in bringing some additional life to the corner and help anchor commercial and retail shopping along that stretch of Gerrard.  Hopefully that is something that could be worked out with the developer.  The corner has sat vacant for many years and many neighbours feel that market rate redevelopment at this corner would help in rejuvenating both Sherbourne and Gerrard streets.  Others feel that 13 storeys is too high and is not in keeping with the streetscape along Sherbourne and Gerrard Streets. To view a copy of the Preliminary Report providing background information please click here.   We strongly encourage area residents to attend this meeting and voice support or concerns about the proposal.   Hope to see you there.       

Vacant and Problematic properties meetings 

Volunteers from the neighbourhood association continue to meet with city staff and Councillor McConnell and staff in hopes of finding solutions for problematic properties in the area.  Properties  include abandoned vacant houses and commercial properties, poorly maintained commercial/retail properties, rooming houses, rental properties and vacant lots. Sadly there are many properties in our area and the neighbouring streets that sit vacant and are both an eyesore and a danger to homeowners who have the misfortune of being attached to or adjacent to such properties.  Properties such as the one illustrated here fall into disrepair and without proper maintenance cause major issues with neighbouring properties.

We have asked for a review of rules and regulations around vacant properties (especially semi-detached and row house properties) and we need more tools to help move properties from neglected and hazardous eyesores to functional livable homes.   

Problems with raccoon and other vermin infestations in vacant houses have caused issues with electrical wiring being damaged and concerns have been raised with bylaw inspectors and fire inspectors. Various city departments continue to jointly inspect properties to determine what bylaw infractions need to be addressed.  Health and safety staff have interviewed tenants to determine if there are infractions in property standards and if there are tenants in need of support services.  The process is slow, the threshold in property standards questionably low and the response from property owners to fix property infractions to minimum code standards often moves at a snail's pace.   

The city is in the continuing process of reviewing property standards and is looking for input from city residents.  We need solutions to speed up renewal of vacant buildings, vacant lots and to find a real solution to the problem with a raccoon population that is overwhelming our neighbourhood and to keep a lid on all vermin infestation. The recent breakout of rabies in the raccoon population in Hamilton Ontario is of real concern to area residents.  Current laws and standards need to be updated and we recommend area residents get involved with the review process and voice concerns and suggestions to improve the process.  To learn more about the city review process please click here..    

Cabbagetown South(west) Heritage Conservation District Designation

The city has earmarked Cabbagetown South as next in line for the Heritage Conservation District designation.  The study for the area has been submitted and is likely to start moving through the process in 2016.  Although we refer to our area as Cabbagetown South, Heritage Preservation Services refer to our area as Cabbagetown Southwest.  As the process proceeds Preservation Services and Councillor Pam McConnell will conduct a series of meetings to inform and discuss what HCD designation will mean to property owners.   It is a complicated process and has significant implications on what property owners within a heritage district can and cannot do to the exteriors of their properties.  Most people agree that protecting the neighbourhood heritage properties from unnecessary demolition and neglect is a good thing.  This same protection however could prevent renovations such as the addition of a dormer, digging out basements, adding new openings and windows, changing or adding front porches, new windows etc.. We highly recommend that area property owners make themselves familiar with the process and get involved in the discussion to insure that the process is fair and reasonable.  Here is a link to the HCD website.   

 The view from here  

With the leaves off the trees, it is increasingly evident that high rise towers are popping up in every direction. The downtown east of Yonge is the latest hotbed of tower development. 

The closest redevelopment at Jarvis and Dundas Street includes a cluster of towers including the nearly completed Pace Building, and the  proposedDundas Square Gardens building at 200 Dundas Street East and Grid Condos on the south east corner.   The Aurora at Gerrard and Yonge Streets at 78 storeys will soon be joined by many new condo towers under development along Yonge Street. 

Regent Park to the east of our area is also rising up with a wide range of mid to high rise condos, rentals and supportive housing.  With that intensification we are seeing new retail and commercial development at the street level along both Parliament and Dundas Street East. For all the information about redevelopment happening around the downtown east area please click here

Many area residents embrace the redevelopment and intensification of the surrounding areas, but of course there are concerns about tall buildings encroaching on the low rise Cabbagetown residential streets.  Residential neighbourhoods seem to be protected, however main streets in the area are subject to different zoning and properties on main streets and particularly at major intersections will likely be eyed as potential building sites.

George Street/Seaton House Redevelopment and Garden District Study already under review 

Several property owners and property developers have already launched challenges with the Ontario Municipal Board regarding the restrictions on development proposed under the Garden District Development Plan. For a copy of the plan please click here.  There is a lot of information to digest and varied opinions on what would be best to move the Garden District forward while still protecting the Heritage Character of the residential side streets.  The placement of a large men's shelter on what was a residential side street in itself is highly problematic.  Common sense would suggest that smaller well managed hostels/transitional housing with proper support systems should be fairly distributed on main streets throughout the city.  There needs to be a commitment to structure the transitional housing with strong support systems that work at not negatively impacting on the street, neighbours and neighbourhood.  Toronto Shelter Services operate a Women and Children's emergency shelter on Sherbourne Street which has very little impact on its neighbours.  Most people are not even aware that the emergency shelter is there.  With the proper support mechanisms and management polices in place, men's shelters could operate quietly in many areas of the city.  Seaton House and Maxwell Meighan Men's shelters should operate in the same manner as Robertson House Women and Children's shelter.  For information about Robertson House, please click here.

It is our understanding that the funding of the George Street/Seaton House Redevelopment project has not been approved. With many costly projects in the works at City Hall and Queen's Park the redevelopment  may be postponed. In the meantime both men's shelters should work on programs that give their clients broader in-house services and structure. The current set up is far too large and overwhelms the neighbourhood. This needs to change.


New Federal Outlook on Supervised Injection Sites and Harm Reduction is a concern.

With the change of government at the federal level, activists lobbying for supervised injection sites will likely have a more sympathetic ear in Ottawa.  Area residents should be concerned about where such supervised injection sites will be located. There is a consistent push to open supervised injection sites in downtown areas while other wards and neighbourhoods offer up little support for those in need.  People with drug and alcohol problems need to be served throughout the city and supervised injection sites do not address the sale and manufacture of drugs.  Drug labs, drug dens. etc. are usually located in low income housing units and that is not acceptable.  Moss Park, Oak Street, and the Dan Harrison complexes to mention just a few, all have problems with the drug trade infiltrating the housing stock and making life miserable for tenants and neighbours. Rooming houses in the area also have a history of problems around the sale and use of drugs.  A national housing and drug dependency program is the solution.  Getting the homeless properly housed in all cities and towns throughout all the country with access to help and support should be a priority.  We strongly encourage area residents to talk with our elected government representatives about this important issue. For information on the most recent Supervised Injection Site Study please click here

Contact information and some interesting links 

To renew your Cabbagetown South membership please click here http://www.cabbagetownsouth.ca/admin/

Councillor Pam McConnell email Councillor_mcconnell@toronto.ca

MPP Glen Murray email gmurray.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org 

MP Bill Morneau email contact@billmorneau.ca

For information about recycling and garbage pick up click here .

For 51 Division Contact Information and Forms http://cplc-51division.blogspot.ca/p/51d-contacts.html.  Or email in a  complaint form for non emergency issues.

Watch this interesting article on policing at 51 Division click here.

Here is just an interesting link to a discussion about drug addiction click here. 

An interesting YouTube video on How to Make An Attractive City click here

Animal Control Stoop and Scoop Regulations http://www.toronto.ca/311/knowledgebase/15/101000051015.html 

Mayor Tory unveils new City of Toronto Green Bin

A next generation of "raccoon proof" Green Bins is set for a city wide roll out in the months to come.  The new bins are twice as large as the present bins and will create more storage headaches for many area residents.  We have asked Councillor McConnell if there is a smaller household friendly alternative or the option to keep our present green bins, but to date have had no response.

Area residents that properly store the current green bin securely out of site have no issues with marauding raccoons.  Timing the roll out of your garbage/recycling bins and green bins to the curb the morning of pick up, rather than the evening before pickup, helps greatly in thwarting nocturnal raccoon activity.  We would ask that area residents be given a better alternative to the new larger green bin.  Residents should be given an option to keep their current bin or order a smaller sized household friendly "tamper proof" green bin.  We recommend you contact Councillor McConnell on this issue. If we hear of any better alternatives to the new larger green bin we will let you know.  

For information about the bin program please click here.


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