Application made for day nursery on Sackville Street

Owners of the property at 461 Sackville St. (at the southeast corner with Amelia) have applied for a minor variance to alter the existing building by converting the uses to a day nursery.

The item will be going to Committee of Adjustment on April 25, 2018.

The project would see the existing multi-unit residential building, whose Ontario Heritage Act plaque notes it was originally “Shops for Joseph Watson, 1888”, converted into space for one infant nursery (12 children), two todder rooms (15 children each) and two preschool rooms (40 children, total) plus supporting washrooms, sleeping areas, kitchen, servery, laundry, and staff offices.

Review the renovations plans (architectural drawings by RENEWArchitect – opens a PDF).

Residents can attend the Committee of Adjustment meeting hearing and speak to the item, or they can submit comments to the application technician, Daniel De Moissac, Daniel.demoissac@toronto.ca (comments cannot be registered by phone, only mail or email).

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16 Responses to Application made for day nursery on Sackville Street

  1. Gail Gordon Oliver says:

    I’m assuming this will be a government-licensed daycare/nursery. How can this be verified? Also, does the Committee of Adjustment focus solely on the renovation/construction side or do they also take into account increased foot and vehicular traffic/congestion at this intersection and along Wellesley St., which is the only vehicular access street to this section of Sackville. Sixty-seven children PLUS what would have to be a sizeable number of staff, PLUS each kid’s parents/caretakers descending on one Cabbagetown property twice a day every single weekday, if not on weekends, as well? Yikes!

    • Naomi Frank says:

      40 children total. Nice to see the space used. Agree the traffic might be challenging for those driving through at those times. But one would hope that some of these children would live in the neighbourhood or close enough to come on foot.

      • Anonymous says:

        THIS IS FOR 82 CHILDREN PLUS STAFF which will most likely ended up at more than 100 INDIVIDUALS in one building in a QUIET RESIDENTIAL AREA, where I live.

        It is already hard, especially on winter days to get around in Cabbagetown and especially in this area of Cabbagetown. I myself can quite often not find parking on my street which is one street over from Amelia (Salisbury) as soon as I leave my overnight spot for a few minutes and this at around 8:00/8:30am. And I am not talking about winter conditions when because of snow removal being so challenging that many parking spots are lost to a point that even residents have to go parking on other streets even if they have a parking permit. Please note that many residents have a car but are not driving to work or are retired so most cars remain parked during daytime except on weekends, etc.

        With at least 15 staff members which most will drive to work and for which there is already no parking and then with at least 50/60 cars (some parents might be coming on foot) dropping off their kids and that will need to park since infants and toddlers or preschoolers, there is no way that the streets around this facility will be able to handle this additional traffic, put aside the parking of all of those cars since there is parking on this property (according to the plans submitted) not even for staff. Has a traffic and parking formal impact assessment have been done?

        While I have always and still support more daycare space (I am a parent myself), I CATEGORICALLY OPPOSE this project because this area is not designed for this amount of traffic or people in a building at the same time and there is other daycare in the neighborhood which have been excellent for decades and located in a walking distance but in the commercial sections of Cabbagetown.

        How will staff be able to park their car all day when the existing by-laws does not allow more than 3 hours of continuous parking of a car in the same spot during daytime on those streets if it does not have a street parking permit and this to address the fact that parking should be used by its residents and not workers of the area, etc.? I know this as some people providing services to my children or renovating have got parking tickets from the city in accordance with this by-law and there is nothing that they could argue against this.

        We moved to Cabbagetown because it was a quiet residential area where our children could walk safely without too much traffic due to very narrow streets, one way streets, etc….this would remove the safety for the kids already leaving in Cabbagetown and make it an overused area.

        As a resident it is very upsetting that this project has ever gone so far as it demonstrates a lack of understanding of what Cabbagetown is about and more specifically what this area of Cabbagetown is for its residents and is not promising of future relationship between the new owners of this building and the residents of this area who are already challenged by parking even during the day (including on only one side of the street since too narrow) and one-way streets, waste management trucks or buses picking up our children and blocking the traffic because the streets are too narrow, etc.

        A Salisbury’s street resident.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m looking forward to this! There are not many childcare options in the community and parents are already having to pack up their children in cars to drive them to Riverdale, Leslieville, and other spots downtown.

    This new daycare could reduce traffic as parents could drop-off on the way to work via walking, bike, or TTC. We lose a part of our community when kids are packed up & shipped off to other parts of the city each day.

    Many Cabbagetown parents are lamenting the loss of the co-op preschool on Lancaster Ave.

    This daycare would be great for local businesses (dozens more people buying lunch from the butcher, etc). It may also deter crime too – feet on the street have a way of doing that.

    Re: Gail’s comment, it will be hard to run a clandestine/illegal daycare smack in the middle of Cabbagetown…if it isn’t legit I am sure the squeaky wheels will show up in their legion to complain!

    • anonymous says:

      FYI – daycare on Lancaster was closed due to lack of children.

      It is not the issue of a daycare in Cabbagetown however that we are objecting to, but the appropriateness of THIS site. Far more appropriate would be the grossly underused former St. Martin’s school, with a large playground and ample parking!

      • Cabbagetown Multi-Modal Family says:

        The daycare/preschool on Lancaster was closed because they were not charging enough per child, not because of lack of children.

  3. Amelia St Resident says:

    As a resident in very close proximity to this proposed development I will be opposing this project as it stands.

    As a new very new parent I understand the need for (convenient) child care facilities, but we did not recently move to this beautiful residential area only for sections to be re-zoned as commercial.

    I am disappointing in both the City Council for already issuing a building permit (significant excavations are already taking place) and the what appears to be a significant neglect in reviewing the broader operational considerations associated with a commercial operation like this including; waste management plans, increase vehicle traffic on one-way streets, no allowance for parking and the overall aesthetics as per the heritage zoning.

    Many will comment about the convenience of this facility and how parents/carers will walk to drop off their children…. not in this age of entitlement, where parents wish to drop their children off right at the front door – the city needs to immediately review accessibility to daycare facilities, schools and high schools (https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/5-year-old-cancer-survivor-killed-by-empty-suv-outside-toronto-school-1.3761410).

    The proposed development is for 82 children, plus sufficient staff and administration, would mean a approximately 100 people at this facility. The waste associated with this business would be significant, which may result in increase pest problems.

    Concerning traffic, the roads in this area are already in dire need of repair (Carlton St) and just recently a large sinkhole opened up at the corner of Amelia and Sackville, which took the City Council 2-3weeks to repair.

    I am certainly not opposed to development or a business establishing its in this location, however there is a distinct lack to forward planning concerning this proposal.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Amelia Street and Sackville Street are both one way and very narrow streets, in particular Amelia. The daily drop-off and pick up of 60+ children and infants morning and afternoon will effectively close down the streets for long periods of time twice a day as parents and care givers park, deal with car seats and taking the infants or children into or out the day care centre. For those familiar with the traffic jams on Elm Street, Mt Pleasant, and Sherbourne caused by the pickup and drop-off of students attending Brangston Hall will appreciate the situation is very difficult. And these are for Students that only have to hop into the car rather than the situation dealing with car seats and physically picking up the children inside the day care centre.

    The proposal should be required to address and solve the traffic impact to go forward. I am also surprised that a commercial establishment in the centre of Cabbagetown is a minor variance.

  5. Amelia Street Resident says:

    As an Amelia Street resident, I am against this project as a daycare. As mentioned by other residents, I do not see how feasible this is going to be from a traffic perspective. Both Amelia Street and Sackville Street are one-way street and they will not be able to support drop-off and pick-up traffic for 60-80 kids. I’d like to see the study that shows that all these kids will come from Cabbagetown. As I doubt it would be the case, that means parents will drive to the daycare. Also as mentioned in other comments, the daycare will require at least 10 to 15 staff. Where are they going to park? As again, I doubt that the staff will all come from Cabbagetown. There are by-laws for parking and they will be in violation of them.

    I am also disappointed at the fact that as resident of Cabbagetown there has not been better communication and involvement with the community to discuss if this was appropriate for the neighborhood.

  6. Cabbagetown Multi-Modal Family says:

    Honestly, are cars more important than children?

    I think we’re all forgetting that Cabbagetown is served by 3 transit lines – the 65 Parliament bus, 94 Wellseley bus, and 506 Carlton. Each of these connects to a subway. Each morning, you can see loads of 1) people going to work (perhaps even to work at a daycare) and 2) people travelling with children to drop them off at daycares, schools, etc. I know of many downtown families which use the TTC and/or cargo bikes to get around.

    Many families and workers do not use, or do not rely, on a car to get around. It’s why we all live downtown in the first place! There are many ways to access the proposed daycare without a car…let’s not let cars spoil this potential neighbourhood amenity.

    • anonymous says:

      Having been a PARENT at a LOCAL school, I can assure you that there will be considerable car traffic.
      The issue is not whether cars are more important than children, the issue is how does a site with insufficient parking and no drop-off handle inevitable traffic on streets already completley full? We view children as dreadfully important, which is why we view their safety as a high priority. If the developer would like to make it a rule that people can only bring their children by transit, walk or bike then my concerns are resolved!

      • Anonymous says:

        There is no way to predict or control how people will drop their children off. I have a child who walks to attend Winchester PS. I am there daily, and there are a large number of Cabbagetown residents who drive their kids to school. I’m sure they all have good reasons, for instance they may be en route to work, but it does not lessen the traffic congestion on Winchester, Rose and other streets.

  7. Anonymous says:

    All these not-in-my-backyard attitude is really sad.
    These kids are going to grow up and pay tax to feed YOU.

    The city needs more daycare spots, the regulations are hard enough and resulting all the new daycares are only opened in the suburbs. I applaud owner’s courage to jump through all the hoops of the city and the provincial government.

    Education is THE way to bring up the quality of the area, this will increase local business and will deter crime. I’d rather have a daycare than another property that squeeze in 10 rental units.

    Noise issue? school hours is only till 4pm, it makes little impact. Plus, what about the three public schools we already have in the hood? let’s kick them out too?

    Parking issue? let the staff deal with it, the by law shall be respected.

    • anonymous says:

      What’s really sad is that a businessman could possibly enter a beautiful and quiet heritage neighbourhood and disrupt our neighbourhood with this bad idea.

      As for bringing up the quality of Cabbagetown ironically this business proposal will lower the quality of Cabbagetown. The false logic (and attempt to reference nimbyism) is really sad.

      As for more rental units it’s really sad that you’ve taken the position of an elitist homeowner who wants to deny other people housing because they would be renters. Shame!

      Noise will be inevitable and make everyone really sad.

      As for the other schools in the neighbourhood what’s going on with that school on Winchester? It has parking for 82 cars and the building looks abandoned, which is really sad. Wouldn’t it make sense for the city and all others concerned to develop a daycare at this site? And a daycare that would be nonprofit and publicly-controlled rather than a private venture run by a businessman which is what you seem to be asking for.

      But the big kicker will be the long stream of cars blocking one-way Sackville and one-way Amelia, every morning for an hour and every afternoon for an hour, while moms and dads park their cars in the street (for lack of parking along the side of the street) to take their little ones into the building, or pick them up. The noise, the air pollution, the congestion, and the negative energy of angry parents jockeying for non-existent parking will LOWER the quality of Cabbagetown, everyday. That is really sad!

  8. Cabbagetown parent says:

    I am a Cabbagetown parent. I live about a block from the site of the proposed daycare, and I fully support the project.

    One commenter says “there is other daycare in the neighborhood which have been excellent for decades and located in a walking distance but in the commercial sections of Cabbagetown,” but I am a Cabbagetown parent in need of daycare for my children, and I don’t know where this “other daycare” is. I have had to consider daycare south of our neighborhood, in the Parliament/Queen area, and in Riverdale, Leslieville, etc. Currently our children are in daycare in the Annex, which is not very convenient.

    A few points to serve as counterpoint to the “not in my backyard” reactions recorded here:

    80 children is not a lot of children, and it seems VERY likely that these spots would be taken by local families–i.e., by families living within a few blocks of the daycare. Given the existence of excellent daycare in adjoining neighbourhoods, I doubt that people living further away would commute to Cabbagetown just for a daycare spot.

    This is important, because it means cars would almost certainly be little used for pickup and drop-off. The car-traffic problem is a false monster.

    Foot traffic, yes. Moms and dads with strollers, perhaps bikes, baby carriers. Not a bad crowd.

    As for parking: It seems extremely unlikely that daycare workers would drive to work in an area well served by public transport and very difficult when it comes to street parking.

    I own a car but would never use it to drive to my job in a congested downtown location. I use public transport or walk . I also use public transport or walk to pick up and drop off my own children at a daycare (one that is unfortunately quite a distance from our Cabbagetown residence).

    A daycare will provide care only during the day, and almost certainly not on weekends (I’ve never heard of a daycare offering weekend care). The sound of little children laughing and playing during weekday mornings and afternoons will be the extent of the noise impact.

    As another commenter said, the city needs more daycare spots–in fact, I would add, the city is desperate for this. And Cabbagetown is notoriously underserved.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Somewhat unrelated.

    Everyone is so worry about not enough parking on the street.

    YET. my neighbour who converts her backyard parking into giant back yard so she can enjoy 15 dollars city street parking is giving me trouble of rebuild my falling down garage.
    The city is also going to increase my property tax due to the new garage.

    seems like there’s little incentive to free up the street parking!

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