Opinion contributed by Celeste D’Costa Ulicki.
The Toronto daycare market fails parents. Demand outstrips supply and parents report long waitlists and expensive care. The pandemic has highlighted the fact that women still bear a disproportionate burden of domestic responsibilities.
In 2016, my parents purchased a home in Cabbagetown. Two one-way streets with 30 km/h speed limits and several speed bumps corner it, and Riverdale Farm, a splash pad and a playground are all within a toddler’s walking distance. Accordingly, the neighbourhood has become home to many couples with children in tow.
The area zoning permits daycares; however, the city would have to make public street parking spaces available for drop-off and pick-up on weekday mornings and afternoons. This simple request, to set aside a few parking spaces on a public road a few hours a day, set off a panic among three wealthy neighbours who hired the same lawyers and experts the city’s biggest developers rely on. This fight has swallowed my parents’ time and energy for three years despite the fact that three traffic experts agreed that there would be no material adverse impact on traffic or local residential parking. We also have the support of hundreds of other neighbours, and thousands more Torontonians (seriously, google “r/toronto cabbagetown daycare dispute”).
You read that correctly: three opponents fought to prevent daycare for dozens of families to defend the privilege of parking their cars in front of their homes on a public street. Shockingly, the local city councillor pandered to the panic and had city lawyers oppose the daycare as well.
Our city is in dire need of child care spaces. We also pride ourselves on being socially and environmentally progressive. Thus, when an opportunity arises to reorganize our
streets so that people come before cars, liveable before driveable, I expect support from our municipality. Yet, the City of Toronto has not approved this daycare application, despite the approval from TLAB. Clearly, parking cars takes precedence over caring for children. But perhaps that can change with your help.
The Toronto East York Community Council and City Council must approve the aforementioned parking spaces. If you want to support our efforts to have this daycare application approved, please email and tweet your support to Councillor Wong-Tam (email@example.com and @kristynwongtam) to get the Sackville daycare on the agenda at the September 2021 Community Council and City Council meetings.