eNewsletter
eNewsletter

Volume 4, Issue 4, June 2015    


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!


Our Summer Schedule


We usually take time off to enjoy the summer weather and with many area residents traveling will not schedule a public meeting during the summer months. We had hoped to host a neighbourhood meet and greet in June but there is so much going on we have decided to reschedule for later in the season. Watch for an email flyer in the months to come.
We will be back on September 9th (the second Wednesday due to Labour Day weekend) hopefully with some positive news and an interesting guest speaker to help celebrate the Cabbagetown Festival.  Watch for our reminder emails. 



George Street Revitalization Community Open House


The George Street Revitalization Team has issued an invite to area residents to attend an Open House  at the Harbour Light Center (160 Jarvis Street) on Tuesday June 16th, 2015 from 5 - 9 pm.  For an excellent update from the perspective of the Garden District Residents Association click here.   The redevelopment of Seaton House and George Street will have considerable impact on the downtown east neighbourhoods.  It is our understanding that Seaton House clients and personal will be moved to 6 locations throughout the city, 4 which will be permanent and 2 which will be temporary and moved back to George street after redevelopment of Seaton House.  We hope city staff and planners come up with a manageable plan to better house and work with the homeless population that does not overwhelm the host community. Smaller well managed hostels with supportive housing and in house social service facilities should be the model for this location and other similar facilities throughout the city.    Please take the opportunity to learn more and offer up your ideas and opinions about how this revamp can have a positive outcome for all concerned.  Click here for further information.




Ontario Street Park Grand Reopening

The park  and playground is open for neighbours to enjoy with new sidewalks expanding the children's  play area by creating a tricycle loop for the small ones and more usable space for playing ball,  Frisbee etc.. There are some new oriental grasses on the Milan Street side and the park is inviting and welcoming.   There had been a lot of pedestrian traffic through the area as new residents from Regent Park thread their way from home to work in the financial core.
There has been a dramatic increase in families with toddlers in the area and the playground is getting lots of use.  Neighbours with dogs are most welcome too, but we remind owners that dogs should be on leash especially with unpredictable kids running about.  The playground area is for kids, with green-space on the Milan Street side being more appropriate for dogs, and please, Stoop and Scoop.



Committee dealing with problematic properties in the area

Kate Hoffman from Councilor Pam McConnell's office has set up a committee of concerned residents and city staff to look at problematic properties in the area.  There are several properties in the area  that have been sitting vacant with minimal maintenance for too long.  We have asked for a review of what the status of inspections and outstanding work orders from city inspectors to determine if problems are being dealt with.  Many rental properties have undergone minimal repairs and updates over the years and require a major investment to bring properties up to standard.
We have asked that Councilor McConnell to review this problem and consider going to Council with solutions that work for neighbours (especially those which are semi detached and row house properties).
Buildings and vacant lots sitting empty for years is not appropriate, and we need change on this front.   The current regulations cover safety and structural standards but the process is slow and limited in what can be done.   Hopefully we can come up with regulations with higher standards of maintenance and a plan to speed up the process of redeveloping properties in a more expedient manner.





Neighbourhood Green-spaces Spruced up for Spring

Here is a photo of an area garden brought to life by volunteer gardeners.  Neighbours took on what had been a dry unloved front lawn of a city owned townhouse and transformed it into a lovely garden.   Some gardening projects have been partially funded from money received from the Beer Store Donation Window, other garden plant materials were generosity donated by area gardeners.  If you have a garden in need of thinning out and can contribute some appropriate plant material to a vacant plot nearby please do so.

Also please remember to return your empty liquor and beer bottles through the donation window at the Gerrard Street Beer Store. Proceeds from the returns go to various improvement projects and local charities.  Thanks again to those volunteer gardeners who have taken the time to create and maintain these lovely community gardens.



St Michael's Hospital/University Health Network/Sherbourne Health Residential Withdrawal Program

Despite our ongoing concerns about further concentration of social services  in the area the proposed withdrawal program team were not swayed in their view that Sherbourne Health is the best location for their consolidated withdrawal program.  Our continued concerns that the program will draw unwanted behavior and activity to the health center and Allan Gardens will drive further discussion and meetings in the months to come.  Despite the Residential Withdrawal Program team's assurances that the program will have no negative fallout, we remain skeptical.   We will keep you abreast of our findings and will continue to draw our political representatives into the discussion of over concentration of hostel beds and related services in our neighbourhood. 



Residents' Reference Panel on Supervised Injection Services

We recently received a copy of the final report on a series of public meetings regarding the implications of supervised injection services and how they would impact on neighborhoods.  The project was commissioned by St Christopher House and Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network. (An agency of the Government  of Ontario).  A member of this association joined the public round table meeting but was not part of the reference panel.   Many of the round table participants were harm reduction service providers, representatives of community organizations and current or past intravenous drug users.  Although the study/report stresses that there is no current plans to open supervised injection sites in the City of Toronto, St Christopher House and LHIN have gone to considerable lengths to prepare the way for such facilities.  What is especially disturbing is the view stated on page 8 of the report that, "The decision to open a supervised injection service  (SIS) should not require community consent".

We recommend everyone read this report and voice any concerns you have to your local politicians and candidates in future elections.  We need healthy neighbouhoods, the homeless properly housed throughout the city and universal services and rehab programs evenly distributed and accessible everywhere. 

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TOcore Planning Toronto's Downtown


The City of Toronto is conducting a study on how the downtown should grow in the decades to come.  The downtown is in its most active period of employment and residential growth since the 1970's and there is a need to develop strategies to ensure that hard and soft infrastructure move in pace with development.  There is a series of Community Consultation Meetings coming up and Councillor Pam McConnell will host a presentation and discussion forum on Thursday, June 18th 6:30 PM. at the Wellesley Community Center 495 Sherbourne Street .  For details please click here.


Central Neighbourhood House Bright Ideas Symposium

On Saturday June 13th, Central Neighbouhood House is hosting its 4th annual Bright Ideas Symposium.  The day begins at 10:00 am (Registration starts at 9:30).  Central Neighbourhood House is looking for ideas and suggestions for projects they can endorse and fund.  Central Neighbouhood House offers a wide range of programs for women, seniors, immigrant families and all members of the downtown east community.  If you have ideas and skills you could bring to the symposium please take the time to find out more.  for additional information click here.
  


Volunteers 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, membership drives, and a volunteer willing to help seek out area businesses willing to advertise on our website.  If we can get ten or so advertisers willing to donate $40.00/year to place a business card advert on our site it would help pay our yearly website fee.  Anyone interested in taking on a social event would also be most welcome.




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