Focus

In advance of the Committee of Adjustment (CofA) hearing to deal with three zoning variances associated with 233 Carlton, a public information meeting has been scheduled by the project architects:

Date: Monday February 10, 2020
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Central Neighbourhood House 
349 Ontario St.

Here’s an information sheet, which provides more details about this session.

There are currently 3 zoning variances that need to be addressed: 

1. Density
They plan to turn the basement at 233 Carlton from a storage area to offices, which means the building will be able to accommodate more people than in its current configuration, so there is a density variance.

2. Parking
The required minimum number of parking spaces for the office use for this building is 2 spaces. The SSHA wants to do away with this requirement as the existing building sitting tight against
the property line and they want deliveries and garbage collection to happen in Doctor O Lane. So there is parking variance.

3. Rooftop Patio
The architects’ plans that were originally submitted to the C of A have since been revised, as they have added a roof top patio. This adds a third variance.

SSHA staff responsible for the building renovations have informed us that if there is an issue with getting approval for the density zoning variance, they will simply move ahead with the refurbishment of the above ground floors and address the basement at a later stage. In fact they already have plans to split the work into two tenders – one for the above ground floors and one for the basement. This level of forward planning seems to indicate concerns about the outcome of the C of A. They have also informed us that if there is an issue with the parking variance they will just forge ahead anyway and manage all deliveries and garbage removal from front of the building, on Carlton Street.

It’s important that any concerns residents may have related to these variances be voiced at this session and we encourage residents to attend to learn more and have their concerns registered. Residents can also submit letters to the C of A, stating any concerns they may have. These must be restricted to the three variances in question, which are the only items the C of A is allowed to adjudicate.

Here’s all the supporting documentation submitted by the architects in advance of the C of A hearing.

Find out more about the C of A process here.

Not able to make the event? Share your feedback with the City’s engagement consultants at clc.233carlton@gmail.com

We hear you Cabbagetowners! Snow removal and maintenance of sidewalks is problematic for many residents. The 2013 survey showed mixed results however 52% of respondents (98/188) reported that they do not agree that snow removal is managed well in Cabbagetown (note: score <=5).

Who is responsible for snow removal from sidewalks?
Well, home owners and businesses are. To the dismay of many residents, the City of Toronto divested snow removal and much of its winter maintenance to private homeowners and businesses due to the width of city sidewalks in older downtown neighbourhoods.

Motorists expect roadways to be accessible and passable in all seasons; pedestrians and cyclist should be treated with the same consideration. As such, numerous community and advocacy groups have voiced their concerns via letters to City Council and Transportation Service; in sum, these groups as well as many resident associations want Transportation Services to expand winter maintenance programs to all areas of the city and especially the downtown core.

This month’s Focus article is on Garbage/Recycling Collection and Compost. In the survey we conducted in late 2013, we heard from you that generally you are satisfied with how Garbage collection is managed in our community (61% of residents gave either an 8, 9 or 10 in their satisfaction with Garbage Collection with 6% giving a 1, 2 or 3) but there were some complaints especially around Green Bin use (either not using them correctly, or wildlife getting in to them).

Firstly, some good news is that the city put out a request for proposal last year in hopes of finding an improved design for green bins and some of the ideas submitted have been intriguing.

Secondly, the Cabbagetown Residents Association has been contacted in the past few weeks by the city’s Solid Waste Management Services team and they asked that we be a key stakeholder in order to assist them with their development of a new Waste Strategy. We will share your views with them during this process, but if you’d like to do so directly – they have an online survey open currently at:
http://toronto.ca/wastestrategy.

Inevitably, the Cabbagetown-specific issues of narrow laneways with large bins, and how large, unsightly plastic bins fit in to a heritage designated area will come up and we will do our best to communicate with you when there is room for input.

This month’s Focus post is on Cabbagetown as a tourist destination. Since the Business Improvement Area (BIA) puts a lot of effort in to this, Addy Saeed (a member of the Residents Association Board and BIA board) is the best person to tell us about it.


As a reader of this website, I’m sure you know or have a very good idea where Cabbagetown is located in Toronto but there are many Torontonians and Tourists that visit our great city and have never experienced all our neighborhood has to offer. I wanted to take this opportunity to focus on this topic and highlight some of the tourist traffic we see in our neighborhood.

As a teacher for the Toronto District School board and a parent of two children (one starting Kindergarten next year), I am very interested in issues surrounding both education and programming for children in Cabbagetown.

Of the 200 people who responded to our survey conducted in late 2013, 34% have children under 18, with 52 children ages 0-3, 35 children ages 4-12 and 8 children age 13-18.

The results from the data portion of the survey relating to children were interesting;

One of the biggest issues was the quality of the primary schools in the area with an almost equal number of people being happy and unhappy with the quality of the local schools, with the exception of Winchester Public School with 79% of parents being happy with the quality. Further work will need to be done to explore why people are unhappy with the quality of the schools and what, if any, measures can be taken to improve them via the Residents Association.

Most people were moderately pleased and moderately aware of childcare services, before and after school programmes and recreational programmes in the area. To help with the awareness of programmes and services, the CRA has put together an information page on our website. Please see below for more details.

Eighteen people added additional comments in the “schools and children” section of the survey. One of the comments in both the children section and parks section mentioned the desire for a “more modern splash pad.” Good news! We are indeed getting the wading pool at Wellesely Park updated and the Board has been working with the City staff. Click here for more info:

http://cabbagetowner.com/wellesley-park-east-splash-pad-and-park-improvements-coming-soon/

Finally, a number of comments mentioned the need for more information about programmes and resources available in the area for children. We are happy to report that if you visit our website and click on “Areas of Focus” and then “Schools/Children” you will find a list of schools, drop in centres, libraries, City programmes, and more, all listed with addresses and websites as well as more information.

Schools & Children

This is a work in progress and if you have something to add, please write to me at info@cabbagetowner.com. I have tried to include information that is accurate, but please call or confirm hours before visiting as times and/or programmes often change.

Lindsay Matheson

Parking in Cabbagetown can be an eventful affair for both residents and visitors and the popularity of our beautiful neighbourhood in the summer months only brightens the light on the intricacies of our one way streets, narrow lanes and high demand for on-street parking.

In our 2013 Community Survey, we had plenty of feedback about on-street parking, parking hours and parking permits with 50% of respondents indicating that parking is problematic and the majority of respondents feel that residents should have parking priority day and night. We will be liaising with the Parking Enforcement Unit of the Toronto Police to identify specific parking issues as they relate to Cabbagetown and to gain clarity on a number of issues that were brought up by members in our most recent survey. If you have any specific concerns as it relates to parking, please email us at info@cabbagetowner.com.

Owning a vehicle in the city may not always be the most efficient way to “get around” and your vehicle may remain parked for long periods of time, either in your private lane way or on the street. If you do leverage street parking, please be courteous to your neighbours and ensure your vehicle is parked safely and as close as possible to the others around it to maximize the street parking space we have. In addition, the following parking infractions do not require a sign to be enforced:

Park – Obstruct lane way or driveway = $40.00 Fine
Park – 3m from a Fire Hydrant = $100.00 Fine
Park – More than 30cm from a curb = $15.00 Fine
Park – Longer than 3 hours without a permit = $15.00 Fine
Park – In accessible parking location = $450 Fine
Park – Fire Route = $250 Fine

Due to the unique character and architecture of Cabbagetown, we are a prime location for Film and Television shoots and have had a busy 12 months which has lead to parking disruptions on affected streets both large and small. Our survey results on the impact of Film and Television crews in our neighbourhood was unsurprisingly mixed. Residents appreciate the attention as well as tolerate the inconvenience. To help offset this inconvenience, we have recently started dropping in on the film shoots and requesting a donation to our community. We have had tremendous success and plan to allocate these funds to our annual community events – most notably, the Forsythia Festival and the Pumpkin Walk. We ask for your assistance in identifying the film shoots – please send a quick email to us at info@cabbagetowner.com.

The Cabbagetown community is a relatively safe and secure neighbourhood; serious crimes happen infrequently. That said, like most urban neighbourhoods, unsavory and disrespectful activities occur in public places like parks, school grounds and laneways as well as private property.

Residents shared their opinions and concerns regarding the safety and security of Cabbagetown via the 2013 Community Survey:

– 88% feel strongly that they are safe in Cabbagetown during the day
– 75% feel strongly that they are safe in Cabbagetown during the night
– 42% feel strongly that Cabbagetown needs an active community watch program

Laneways are an important part of our history and, love them or hate them, contribute to the cultural fabric of this wonderful and unique neighbourhood.

In June 2013, the CRA Safety & Security Committee partnered with the Community Response Unit (CRU) with 51 Division (Police Services) to conduct safety walks in laneways that presented safety and security risks as identified by local residents.  Several laneways were nominated by residents and two safety walks were scheduled; the goals of these safety walks were;
– to identify problem areas that may benefit from increase police presence (even on a temporary basis)
– encourage residents to contact police should they have any concerns or witness disrespectful or illegal activities, confirm police contact information and available services
– discuss the many ways residents and homeowners can proactively limit crimes of opportunity and unsavory activity through laneway clean up and maintenance.

In follow up to a safety walk conducted last year, the CRA and local residents collaborated to clean up Gordon Sinclair Lane. This laneway was nominated by several residents and homeowners who live on Carlton St and Geneva St (just south of Riverdale Park West, east of Sumach St). The laneway serves and as a convenient conduit for individuals who frequent Riverdale Park West and Spruce Court Public School grounds for illegal, disrespectful activities.

On June 8th, 2014, more than twenty local residents and a handful of CRA board members volunteered a few hours of their time to pull weeds, prune overgrown plant material and trees that were obscuring sightlines and light (creating hiding places), pick up garbage and household waste that was discarded in the laneway, and sweep (and sweep and sweep).  Three hours and more than 60 yard waste bags later, the laneway is cleaner, brighter, pruned, and importantly, looks well cared for and ‘attended to’ – all things recommended by police to deter unsavory activity.

On behalf of the CRA, thank you to all residents who participated in the safety walks and volunteered their time to clean Gordon Sinclair Lane. Based on the success of this initiative, the CRA is interested in collaborating with other residents and homeowners who would like to ‘adopt’ their laneway.

Please contact the CRA at info@cabbagetowner.com

Safety & Security Committee

As you know, we recently conducted a survey to gauge which issues are of most concern to local area residents.

What we heard, loud and clear, is that you care about our tree canopy and are concerned about preserving it. 64 per cent of you are concerned about the loss of trees in Cabbagetown. This very clear majority is understandable given the recent ice storm, which wreaked havoc on trees across Toronto. We share your concern.

That’s why we’re working closely with a new non-profit organization, Cabbagetown Releaf to promote a larger, healthier urban forest through community planting, tree care, tree protection, education, and advocacy.

We are very excited to see all of the work that’s been accomplished by Cabbagetown Releaf’s Board and Steering Committee, for example in advocating for new trees in both Wellesley and Riverdale Park.

You can get involved by:
– Calling 311 if you see a tree that has been damaged or is in need of pruning.
– Protecting the critically important roots of your trees – Avoid digging, tilling or excavating near trees.
Planting a tree! It costs nothing and will add beauty to our neighbourhood and increase your property value!
Becoming a Cabbagetown ReLeaf Tree Steward – you’ll meet lots of likeminded people and help raise awareness of local urban forest issues.

The steps you take today – no matter how small – will benefit our tree canopy for years to come.

For more information on our Tree Canopy work, visit that section of our website at:
http://cabbagetowner.com/focus/canopy/

In our recent survey, we had a wide range of responses from residents regarding wildlife in the area. The topic of wildlife is timely, as it’s “National Wildlife Week“!

Many of you wrote to defend the right of animals to be in the neighbourhood, and many were upset about the shooting of the local coyote last year. There were also many people who, while sympathetic, told tales of trying to remove possums from bathrooms, and raccoons and squirrels from attics at great expense and effort. Feeding wild animals was widely criticized since they can become dependent on the food, and often leave food in others’ yards. Skunks, wild cats, termites, ants…all causes of concern. Although not technically wildlife, there were many comments concerning dog owners who don’t clean up after their dogs also. Ensuring that bins are properly secured was the top recommendation from residents.

So…now that Spring is in the air, Cabbagetowners – including all of our community creatures – are becoming more active and we have some tips.

Everyone should be reminded that those garbage containers that were left alone in the deep freeze of winter are once again the buffet repository for hungry racoons. Make sure to racoon-proof your garbage container lids as best you can (my personal recommendation is Raccoon Check – I’ve used them for 11 years and no raccoon has ever managed to get in to my compost bin. Unfortunately, they’re hard to find since Home Hardware stopped carrying them but they can still be found online). Some residents wrote that they freeze their compost, and put it out in the green bin on pickup morning (I’m sure there are some raccoons that still like compostcicles, but leaving it until the morning of pickup is a good strategy).  Also, be aware that pets roaming free are at a risk of coming in contact with emerging skunks especially in the hours of dusk and dawn – keep them close. The helping hand of providing food to wild animals can be of some benefit in harsh conditions as was the case this winter (See comment below) but now is the time to ween them off human handouts and let them forage. Animals becoming too dependent on humans for their food supply are the first to be identified as a nuisance and can require relocation.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation has some excellent resources for how we can live (or at least cope…) with many animals – including raccoons and squirrels:
Raccoons
Squirrels

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