eNewsletter

Volume 6, Issue 1, January 2017    

Ontario Street Park after an early winter's snowfall.


Thanks to everyone who came out to our Christmas Party.  It was a great opportunity to get out and meet the neighbours!   A special Thank You to Mrs Brown on Seaton Street who supplied Christmas cookies and other treats.  

Our first meeting of 2017 will be Wednesday February 8th with our Annual General Meeting and election of president and nominations for the 2017 Cabbagetown South Board of Directors.  A reminder email will be sent out closer to the date. 

 

We will be meeting at Hey Lucy Cafe at 229 Carlton Street (just east of Berkeley Street) at 7pm.  Some of us arrive around 6 for dinner beforehand.  Please join us.

If you are wiling to serve on our board please send us an email outlining what your particular interests in the community and what areas you might consider getting involved in.  As always we need help with membership, advertisers for our website, fund raising for projects, newsletters and communications.   If you have some time and ideas please join us.  There are also  many one on projects that could use a team leader and helping hands.   

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!  If you have a neighbour who might be interested in our newsletter or learning about us, or might attend our next meeting, please pass it on. 


What is ahead for 2017 

Heritage Conservation District Designation of Cabbagetown South.

Heritage Toronto will soon start the next steps in the process of Heritage Conservaton Distict Designation by hosting a series of meetings with Councillor Pam McConnell.  These meetings will give area residents the opportunity to learn more about what heritage designation will mean for the neighbourhood and for property owners.  Will keep members advised of the meetings as we learn more.  For information about Heritage Conservation Districts please click here.

Lord Dufferin School

The Toronto District School Board has added a proposal to their 2017 agenda to consider an elementary school program for the arts in our ward.  The program would act as a feeder program for Rosedale Heights School for the Arts on Bloor Street and Castlefrank.  Apparently there are elementary school for the arts in other areas of the city acting as feeder schools for High School Specialty Arts programs and there is the need for a similar program in our area. We will advise when the meeting is announced and hopefully area residents will be given the opportunity to speak or submit letters of support or voice concerns.  Lord Dufferin School may be one of the sites for this new program.  Similar programs in other jurisdictions have proven to be quite popular and with declining enrollment in some of our area schools this added program could reverse that trend .  For information about Toronto District School Programs for the Arts please click here and follow the link to Arts Focused Schools.

On a negative note we have noted problems with the unloading of school buses on Berkeley at Lord Dufferin School creating traffic congestion during the morning rush.  The daycare apparently operates a before and after school program that serves not just Lord Dufferin but other area elementary schools.   Obviously the safety of young students is a priority but buses need to move safely and quickly when loading or discharging students without causing bottlenecks and traffic backups along this residential street.  We have asked for an on-sight meeting with School Trustee Chris Moise and school and daycare staff to determine how to best deal with the problem in the short term and find a long term solution agreeable to all concerned.

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New Catholic School slated for Shuter and Parliament

Other School News involves the Catholic School Board who are in the process of developing building plans for a new school to replace St Michael's Elementary on lower George Street and St Paul's Elementary on Queen East.  The new location will be at Shuter and Parliament Streets pictured here.  Assuming the Provincial Ministry of Education approves the business plan and the timing of the approval the new school would be completed for 2021.  Public consultation meetings about the design of the new school will be announced in the coming months. 

Development Application filed with city for Beer Store redeveloment

An official proposal for the redevelopment of the Gerrard and Seaton Beer Store has been submitted to the City's Planning Department.  The plan is for an 8 storey residential condo building with retail space facing Gerrard and Ontario Street with townhouse units facing Seaton Street.  There will be underground parking for the condo residents and guests but apparently no surface parking to serve the commerical/retail store.  It has not been confirmed but we suspect the plan is to include a Beer Store on the ground floor.  If the retail is a Beer Boutique (their term) there would be no bottle returns.  If that is the case the lack of parking might work but this would likely mean more folks looking for street parking on Ontario and Gerrard streets. Not an ideal situation. Our recommendation would be for a combined full service Beer Store/LCBO outlet with Grocery Chain in Regent Park near Gerrard and Parliament.  There is also transit stops at that corner which would be a more a appropriate location.  For detailed information about the plan please click here.  

It is interesting to note that there is a similar plan for the Beer Store at Logan and Gerrard which is only six storeys high.  To look at that plan click here.     

Harm Reduction for Neighbourhoods needs to be addressed.

Harm Reduction for Neighbourhoods needs to be a priority for 2017.  There is an alarming number of people who are slipping through the cracks due to drug addiction.  We need a plan that helps people with drugs, alcohol and drug addiction in its early stages.  Waiting until people are at rock bottom and still not able to offer rehab beds is appalling.  There needs to be programs and rehab facilities distributed throughout all communities to help people in the early stages of their illness.  Concentrating services in the downtown core so that suburban neighbourhoods do not have to deal with the issue is not acceptable.  Folks with problems come from everywhere and need the ongoing support of their families and medical personal much earlier on.  Abandoning them to downtown hostels and drop ins is unacceptable.  

Officials suggest that there is not an increase in criminal activity in and around supervised injection sites.  It remains to be seen if drug dealers will move to Dundas and Victoria or if the drug trade will continue to flourish around hostels, rooming houses and rental properties in the east end neighbouhoods.   A recent Globe and Mail report on the Opioid crisis in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside suggests that where there are supervised injection sites, drug dealing is not far away.  To read the article please click here.

We encourage area residents to contact harm reduction outreach staff should you find needles in the area (they will come and deal with needles).  We should also contact them if you have concerns about individuals consuming drugs.  Unfortunately they are currently only on call during weekdays.  If someone seems to be in distress or unconscious call 911.

For information on Regent Park Health Center Harm Reduction Program click here.

For information on Street Health Harm Reduction Programs click here

Mental Health Issues click here.

 Area residents who store their garbage and recycling containers in front of their properties have reported finding used needles in their household containers. We strongly recommend using extreme caution when using any bins that are accessible to passerby's.  

Moss Park/519 Church Community Center.

Discussions continue with the More Moss Park Team and area residents about the proposed new community center.  Members of our board and members of the Garden District recently attended a follow up meeting.  The Garden District is very concerned about the plan to put up a much larger building on the west side of the park.  To look at their position paper please click here.   The 519 Moss Park Team remains adamant that their plan is the best one and have come back with a slightly modified plan very similar to their original.  So much for community consultation.   We will advise more information when their final report to City Council is released. 

Problematic Properties

Sadly we have not seen much improvement in the vacant properties in the area or with absentee landlords managing poorly run rooming houses and rentals.  It had been our hope that the city would develop better regulations around maintenance and safety of properties languishing in mid renovations or poorly maintained rental properties.  It has bee a long and slow process with the same properties under discussion meeting after meeting.  The current process needs to be revamped to better protect homeowners from absentee property owners especially with semi detached or row house properties.

Oben Flats at Sherbourne and Gerrard

We have been advised by city planners that the next step will be for the proposal to go to East York Council who will review the proposal and planning report.  At this time area residents will be given the opportunity to speak or write about their concerns about the plan.  Will advise when we hear when this meeting is to take place.


Improving our laneways

After a walk around the district’s laneways, it soon becomes apparent that the condition and upkeep varies dramatically from lane to lane. Relying on the City for basic clean-up is a slow process and the upkeep is constant. Over the years, some residents have coordinated their efforts to take ownership of their lanes and have made tremendous improvements while other lanes are subject to chronic illegal practices and have property owners that have turned a blind eye to basic upkeep and the laneways have languished in a constant state of illegal dumping and seedy and illegal activities.

 

2016 saw a growing awareness of the problems with an increasing number of residents taking on a stewardship role of their sections of lanes. Currently, we are in the process of determining which laneways work well and which laneways need help. Area residents have stepped forward to work with The Laneway Project volunteers to help develop a Master Plan framework to identify problem areas, lack of security lighting, poor paving conditions and opportunities to curb illegal activity and beautify the lanes that need it most.

 

The Laneway Project organization was formed to help Toronto neighbourhoods turn around the network of laneways throughout the city to more of a safe haven for residents and reduce criminal activity. 

Proven solutions are many and add value and livability to those who have taken an active stewardship role to improve their community. The initial tally of issues and problem areas that have come to light in Cabbagetown South are: inconsistent security lighting, illegal activities (dumping, prostitution, drinking, drug use), hiding areas, graffiti and poor or failing paving conditions of laneway surfacing.

We will need volunteers from all of the streets with laneways behind to help take stock of laneway conditions and challenges.

Working with the successes of the Laneway Project Organization, a survey is in the works to identify issues and build support for the initiatives and solutions to improve our neighbourhood’s laneways.  We need to determine if more lighting is needed and if so what kind of lighting?  Do security cameras work as a deterrent and where should they be installed? Should routine updating of concrete and asphalt pavement with permeable pavements to reduce the stress on our stormwater systems and pollution of Lake Ontario be part of the plan?

Torrential downpours seem to be the new normal and interlocking permeable brick (as installed in the lanes of Regent Park) in at least part of our laneways would help divert water from the sewer system and help irrigate trees and adjoining backyard gardens 

We need to determine whether partnerships with area arts groups such as Rosedale School for the Arts or the Parliament Street Library or other groups could help bring interesting ideas and concepts for new uses of the lanes. 

We will need volunteers from all of the streets with laneways behind to help take stock of laneway conditions and challenges. 


One of our first initiatives is to collect feedback from area residents through a brief survey.  We are working on it and will email it out in the near future.  Please take the time to complete it.

 


New Senior's Building under construction in Regent Park

The Sumach, a $100 million, state-of-the-art urban rental retirement residence developed by Chartwell, Welltower Inc. and The Daniels Corporation is under construction on Summach Street near Shuter. When completed in September 2018, the development will add 332 units consisting of studios, one bedroom suites, two-bedroom suites and townhomes. 

There is an open house Wednesday, January 25th 4-6 pm at Regent Park Presentation Center, 500 Dundas Street East for those interested in learning more.    



Community Policing

51 Division recently hosted a meeting with area residents, housing and service providers in the area to discuss the future of Community Policing.  It is our hope that more officers will be assigned to community policing at 51 division.l  If last summer was any sign we could be in for another difficult summer.

Staff Sgt Henry Dyck advised that there is a plan to keep officers working in community policing for longer rotations.  Officers who know the area and people in the area are better prepared to deal with neighbourhood issues.  Community officers are also spending a considerable amount of time dealing with the homeless, folks with mental health issues, problems at shelters and folks addicted to drugs and alcohol.  Police are part of the first responder teams that carry and administer anti overdose drugs to drug addicts suffering from overdoses. 

We received good news that officers are addressing problems around neighbourhood drug dens and areas where drug dealing is happening. With the colder weather we see and hear less complaints but no doubt as the weather warms up unwanted activity will return.

We were pleased to learn that extra street patrol and bicycle patrol officers have been assigned to our area on afternoon and evening shifts Fridays to Mondays.

Officers stressed that area residents must take the time to call the police when you witness any criminal behavior, including sexual activity, public alcohol and drug consumption and any other nuisance or unwanted behavior.  Call 416 808 2222 or click onto the complaint form at the bottom of this article and forward by email.  The number of officers assigned to 51 Division is based on the number of calls and complaints received. 

For contact information for both community officers and Toronto Community Housing Safety Unit please see below. 

We need to be vigilant and report suspicious activity, and stress that residents keep an eye out for our neighbours and their property.  If you sense something is amiss report it. 

We cannot emphasize enough to get to know your neighbours on your street and the laneway behind, and note names and contact information so should you see something amiss you can contact them.  Letting neighbours know when you are going to be away on vacation etc. is highly recommended.  It is also important to call 911 if you witness individuals acting suspiciously, trespassing, attempted break ins, altercations etc..  Police dispatch will assign officers to respond as manpower permits.

Obviously assaults or violent activity get priority responses but police need to know about suspicious activity or if something seems out of place.  If you sense something is wrong or something is about to happen, let the police know about your concerns.  To report nuisance behaviour, such as public drug and alcohol consumption or intoxication, drug dealing and street prostitution or sexual activity in public spaces call 416 808 2222 and report it.  A follow up call (or email) to our community police reporting the incident and location is also helpful.  Talking to the police and especially the community team is what gets officers patrolling our neighbourhood.

Staff Sgt. Henry Dyck: 416-808-5152 email Henry.Dyck@torontopolice.on.ca

Police Constable Julie Rice: 647-921-6395 email julie.rice@torontopolice.on.ca

Police Constable Scott Hodgson: 647-921-6395 email scott.hodgson@torontopolice.on.ca

For issues at Toronto Community Housing properties such as noise, drug dealing, etc.follow up with

Community Safety Advisor Michael Bezoff: 416-899-8454 email michael.bezoff@torontohousing.ca

Staff Sergeant Peter Troupe: 416-808-5152 to follow up. His email is peter.troup@torontopolice.on.ca

Emailing a general complaint form is also a great idea as it helps determine the number of officers assigned to particular divisions. Click here.


Proposed New Green Bins

The next generation of "raccoon proof" bins will be very difficult for many area residents to store out of sight and the concern is that they will become permanent fixtures on the streetscape fronting our tiny front gardens. We recommend you contact Councillor McConnell on this issue and ask that area residents be given a better alternative to the new larger green bin. Keeping the current smaller bin should be an alternative. 

A letter objecting to the new and much larger green bins was recently sent to CIty Hall by the Cabbagetown Preservation Group.  

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.  

Raccoons continue to be a problem and are destructive and a potential health hazard to area residents, children, grandchildren and our family pets.  We need a solution to reduce the raccoon population in the City of Toronto.    

For information about the bin program please click here.


Volunteers are always needed


If you can spare a couple of hours a month we can always use some help in making the neighbourhood a better place to live and work in.  We need help in maintaining our website, organizing social events like garden tours, community yard sales, etc.  A volunteer willing to help seek out area businesses willing to sponsor us on our website would also be a big help.  If we can get ten or so businesses willing to donate $40.00/year to place their business card advert on our site it would help pay our yearly website fee. 

Please contact us at info@cabbagetownsouth,ca




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