Back in March, the City of Toronto passed a motion that changed the rules and of shelter housing. Those original rules were pretty simple.
- Must be on major arterial and minor arterial roads.
- The shelter’s lot is at 250 meters from any other lot with a municipal shelter or emergency shelter, hostel or crisis care facility.
The reason was simple. Let’s not put everything in one place. Cabbagetown South Residents Association were at the committee and the motion was passed despite their concerns.
The City has shown that they do not care. I believe Kristyn (our Councillor) when she said she had genuine concerns about the new shelter on Carlton. She, unlike many councillors, is acutely aware of the downtown east crisis. The City claimed said she had “no objection” and went ahead with the 233 Carlton Shelter deal. Deal done, no input.
Really? The City solicits more input on a splash pad.
If I owned a building in Cabbagetown I would be knocking down the door of the City manager Chris Murray. I would be offering up my real estate to the best tenant in the world – the City of Toronto.
With no rules of engagement or public consultation, every building of certain square footage is now a potential City lease. Cabbagetown has dozens of great sites for City services. Several prime time locations that would love that rent…all between Bleecker and the farm.
- 460 parliament where Megana Hooka Lounge is. Easy. Great location and the City could develop that vast parking lot!
- The Cabbagetown Youth Centre! Two large floors and roof – no brainer.
- The liquor store. It is moving to Parliament and Gerrard. I wonder what could replace it?
- St. Martin Catholic School on Winchester. It could be the most magnificent shelters of all time. Bring it on.
- Riverdale farm (don’t laugh there is a great deal of space off of the end of Winchester and it is being considered. No permission needed.
- The School of Toronto Dance Theatre on Winchester. Why not?
- The proposed daycare on Amelia. Check.
Speaking of Winchester, the residents association has been diligently working with the City and Margaret’s to redevelop many of those spectacular grand old rooming houses. Yes in their front yard!
Now let us see, top-dollar market rent, major building upgrades, upkeep and taxes. Full pop guaranteed for a 10-15 year lease. Who else might put their hand up? Ummm everybody with a building.
- Toronto squash club on bleecker.
- The Home Hardware building! It can’t be easy running a Home Hardware when you can get upwards of $500,000 a year in rent for doing nothing and still own the building.
- The three-floor building at the corner Parliament and Carlton. Perfect Spot.
- Parliament Street Furniture? Lots of room to build upon the second floor and double the square footage.
- Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, 509 Parliament Street. It is an awesome location.
- Winchester hotel? Those owners would double their revenue if they leased to the City.
- The Daniel and Daniel building. Maybe they are ready to go to the next level with their hugely successful business. Why not lease to the City and pay for an expansion somewhere else.
I could go on.
To be clear, we need more shelters and services throughout the City. New guidelines make any property a possible shelter, respite or hostel. The City does not require permission anymore. They do not need to consult with the community, the City Councillor or the local business that employ over 1500 people in the Cabbagetown BIA alone. The City can do whatever, wherever and whenever they want with no oversight. That is concerning.
And the building owners? They are left with two choices: sell or rent to the City – I know what I would do if I owned a building. Community be damned.
Contrimbuted by Pete Lovering