Volume 5, Issue 3, Spring 2016    

Please join us for our next meeting on June 8th at the Retsina Restaurant 209 Gerrard Street East (near Seaton) at 7pm.

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. 

Our Spring and Summer Schedule

We have  planned a meeting for June 8th with guest speakers from Options for Homes/St Lukes Church regarding their proposed affordable condo plans.  (For details see below).

We also have an upcoming by-election to replace School Trustee Shiela Ward who passed away in February.  Area resident Chirs Moise is running for the position and will also speak and answer any questions about how are area schools are doing. 

Can our neighbourhood schools be made better with a wider range of elementary programs? For more information see the article below.  

Proposal for large development at Ontario Street south of Queen

The City of Toronto is hosting a meeting on May 30th regarding a large proposal to redevelop a property at Ontario Street south of Queen.

The site includes the former Ontario Paint Store location which burned down several years ago as well as what was a heritage listed commercial building illegally demolished by the owner last year.  For an article on the demolition and reprecussions of that action please click here.

The photograph is from the grounds of Moss Park Apartments looking south west.

The scope of the proposal is large and would have a big impact on the area.  Several large warehouses on Richmond and Ontario would be demolished and replaced by three large condos with heights up to nearly 50 storeys. 

 The area south of Queen between Parliament and Jarvis is under considerable pressure for redevelopment.  With talk of a relief subway line along Queen and a subway stop near Queen and Sherbourne there will be even more building proposals brought forward.  Hopefully a master plan for the area could help save more of the commercial storefronts and warehouses which presently dot the neighbourhood.  For information on the proposal please click here

For information on the upcoming meeting on May 30th please click  here  

What is Happening with the former Marty Millionaire Site? 

In stark contrast to the soaring plans for Ontario and Queen the former furniture outlet and studio prop building at the corner of Queen and Parliament will  be renovated and restored to house Free the Children. The site was purchased last year by Free The Children to establish a Global Headquarters and Children's Learning Center.  

Sometimes the right buyer with the vision to work with existing buildings and the money to carefully restore and renovate the warehouses and storefronts of Old Town Toronto does work out.  This mix of old buildings with innovative intereriors that draw leading edge businesses and services is something the area desperately needs. The site is large and was likely eyed by many developers for more condo towers. We need businesses as well as housing in the area and this is a welcome addition to Queen Street.  For more information please click here

Committee dealing with problematic properties in the area

In the spring of 2015 our organization with the help of Kate Hoffman Executive Associate with Councillor Pam McConnell reconvened a series of meetings with city by-law staff, health department staff, representatives from police and fire departments and interested neighbours totackle the ongoing issue of problematic properties in Cabbagetown South.  It was our hope that by meeting with a large contingent of city staff from various departments that a consolidated effort to address ongoing problems around housing conditions, safety, and in some cases criminal activity could leverage a positive outcome to improve the conditions of poorly maintained/managed properties.

The process has been very slow and there is a lack of real consequences on landlords and property owners that fail to address complaints.  The city is apparently working on updating bylaws and rooming house regulations but that process is again very slow and we find that the bureaucracy at city hall is reluctant to communicate with city residents.

Two vacant properties that we were working on were recently repaired by the city (who then add the bill to the owners property tax bill).  Of course the repairs are very basic and both properties continue to be eyesores and concerns to the adjoining neighbours.

Kate Hoffman has left the post with Pam McConnell and we are struggling to get follow up meetings restored.  One meeting in January was poorly attended by city staff.  Staff that were present had little to report.      

We have asked to be informed when the review and studies on bylaws and rooming house licensing are completed.  Will updated this file when we receive further information. 

Neighbourhood Policing

We had a very good turn out with area residents interested to hear from and voice concerns and questions to 51 Division Police Officers. Concerns about safety and security,  the rise in break ins and theft from cars and back yards were raised with community police. 

The discussion included police officers from 51 Division Community Response Team as well as a representative from Toronto Community Housing Safety Unit.  Warm weather usually brings more house and car break ins and other unwanted activity in our area and it was stressed that residents keeping an eye out for neighbours is a very good strategy.    For contact information for both community officers and Toronto Community Housing Safety Unit please see below. 

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.

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

Police Constable Scott Hodgson phone 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 phone 416 899 8454 email michael.bezoff@torontohousing.ca

Officers from 51 Division point out that the more calls they receive from a particular neighbourhood, the more patrols that neighbourhood receives. If problems are persistent it is also recommended you contact

Staff Sergeant Peter Troupe directly at 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.

School Trustee By-Election

With the recent death of our area School Trustee Sheila Ward, a by-election has been called for June 20th 2016. (Advanced poll June 11th and 12th)  There is a considerable number of candidates running for the position, including Cabbagetown South Resident Chris Moise.  Chris has run for the position in the past coming in second to the incumbent.  Chris has attended our meetings on many occasions and is involved with many initiatives to improve the downtown east neighbourhoods. Chris works as a social worker at St. Michael's Hospital and is also a business owner of a pet supply store in St Lawrence Market.

Why should area residents without kids in the school system vote for a school trustee?   Schools are an important marker in the success of a community.  If our schools are successful and thriving, the surrounding neighbourhood becomes a better and healthier place to live. Moss Park and Cabbagetown South are the only downtown neighbourhoods where the population has decreased.  Families with kids often leave our neighbourhood when the kids hit school age due to a perception that our area schools are falling behind.  Other families do not move into and invest in our neighbourhood, again looking for better school districts.  This problem makes our neighbourhood a less desirable, and a less energized place to live.   This effects us all.

Take the time to find out about the candidates running in ward 27 click here.

To learn more about Chris Moise click here.

To learn more about People for Education click here.   

Trustees are responsible for setting the school board’s overall policy direction and the board’s budget, and they represent the interests of the community, parents and students in their area. By law, they must consult with their communities on the board’s multi-year plan and they must bring concerns from their community to the school board as a whole.

Options for Homes and St Luke's

Options for Homes is continuing their discussions with Councillor Pam McConnell and City Staff regarding their plans to build affordable home ownership condo units.  The proposed site is the church annex to the south of the church.at Carlton and Sherbourne.   They advise that the city has earmarked the north side of Carlton for tall buildings (as well as the Oben Flats lot at Sherbourne and Gerrard).  Options and St Lukes feel that the proposed location for the high rise building is similar to other sites nearby and that their building is a good fit and will help revitalize the corner.

Affordable home ownership is something that the downtown east needs to insure that our neighbourhood is a healthy mix of residents. Sherbourne Street definitely needs owner occupied housing to help balance the lower rental properties along this stretch.  

Many area churches are struggling with the high cost of upkeep and renovations.  St Lukes wants to renovate and update their building and create better and more functional office and meeting rooms. They advise that a partnership with Options for Homes will allow them to do so.  The lower floors of the proposed building will feature updated auxiliary space to house the many community services and organizations currently operating there.  The church is a heritage gem and proper restoration is an expensive and complicated process. Those of us who have gone through renovations know how expensive updating wiring, windows,roofing and heating systems can be.  

Some will argue that the church buildings should remain as it is, and that the proposed building is too high.  Others would like to see development on Sherbourne Street and around Allan Gardens  Increased densities would make the corner more lively and bring a younger demographics to the area.  Let your views be known to Councillor Pam McConnell at councillor_mcconnell@toronto.ca .

For more information about Options for Homes and information about past projects please click here.  

The main hurtle for development at Sherbourne and Carlton is the heritage designation of Carlton within the Cabbagetown North West Heritage District.  Hopefully there is room for compromise on the part of the developer and heritage planning.  For more information about the Cabbagetown Northwest heritage conservation district click here.

The next steps will include a community consultation meeting with area residents and businesses organized by Councillor McConnell and City planning staff. They will mail notifications of this meeting to area residents and business owners.  We too will pass on information as we get it.

Toronto Noise Coalition

Area residents were concerned to learn that the city was considering lightening up regulations around noise, decibel levels, and acceptable hours for music venues, construction etc. The  plan to lessen restrictions around noise that would allow for outdoor concert venues to operate at higher decibel levels and longer hours.  Bar and restaurant patios will have less restrictions, 24 hour construction noise could become the new norm.  Many area residents enjoy the tranquility of our quiet and leafy neighbourhood.   On May 12th, the City of Toronto released their proposed changes to Toronto's noise bylaw.  An organization called The Toronto Noise Coalition had analyzed the proposed new bylaw and has found that it failed on three key fronts: 1) Key weaknesses in the original by-law remain unchanged; 2) The proposed changes further reduce noise protections; 3) No efforts have been made to strengthen enforcement.

They asked for the assistance of resident and ratepayer associations, BIAs etc. to contact city staff and our area Councillors to object to the proposed changes.  As a result the city is reconsidering their plan and doing further study on the issue.  Thanks to all that made the effort to voice their concerns. 

 For a link to the Coalitions website and how to voice your concerns please click here.   

Proposed New Ward Boundaries divide our neighbourhood

The City of Toronto is looking at creating new Wards to balance population levels in city wards.  Ward 28 would be divided into two wards one north of Dundas and the other south of Dundas.  Hopefully the boundaries are up for discussion with area residents to better determine where dividing lines would best lie.  Shuter street might be a better boundary for both our neighbourhood and the New Regent Park.  For more information please 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, organizing social events like garden tours, community yard sales, etc.  A volunteer willing to help seek out area businesses willing to advertise on our website would also be a big help.  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. 

Please contact us at info@cabbagetownsouth,ca

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