Issues

The Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) has ruled that a developer can proceed with establishing a daycare in Cabbagetown, a plan which has been in the offing for several years.

The building in question is located at 459 and 461 Sackville St., on the South East corner of Sackville and Amelia Streets. The original application for variances was rejected by a City Committee of Adjustment in April 2018, as committee members were concerned that the lack of parking spaces for child drop-off /pick-up at the daycare would lead to traffic and safety problems in the immediate neighbourhood.

The interim decision and order from TLAB Member Stanley Makuch, in allowing the zoning variances stated that, “This proposal provides an opportunity for a reuse that benefits and supports heritage conservation. ” However, it also said that, “Having made a finding that the variances should be granted there are nevertheless issues of implementation.”

While the development has now successfully passed the appeal related to its initial variances, this remains an interim decision conditional upon the owner getting the required approvals from the city and the province. Another TLAB hearing has been scheduled for December 3, 2021, so that the applicant can report back to TLAB to confirm they have successfully obtained the requisite approvals, including, among others, that:

  • Street parking is approved by City council for 4 or 6 dedicated on street (permit) parking spaces in the morning and afternoon for drop-off/ pick-up.
  • A provincial license is obtained demonstrating that such matters as street parking, play areas, garbage and stroller storage, and access and egress have been properly addressed.
  • A site plan is approved by the Chief Planner, including such matters as a landscaping plan addressing conversion of green space to hardscape paving and City approval and lease to use the boulevard/right of way.

Assuming the TLAB determines that the above conditions have been satisfied by the December 3, 2021 hearing date, TLAB’s interim approval will be final and in force on December 10, 2021. However, one of the involved parties may still request a TLAB Review of Decision, and after that proceeding, a party may also seek leave for a Judicial Review in Ontario Divisional Court. So, the ongoing efforts to establish a daycare in Cabbagetown could continue for some time.

Update from Doug Fisher at the Cabbagetown Neighbourhood review:
Ward 13 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam wants more daycare in her Ward but says “The problem with the application is that it doesn’t address how day to day operations of a daycare of the size being proposed could safely function given existing conditions.”  The City Solicitor is now reviewing the decision with the possibility of pursuing more legal appeals – an approach that the Councillor supports.

DINE-IN RESTAURANTS/BARS PERMITTED TO OPEN FRIDAY

Under the Province of Ontario’s Stage 3 order, which takes effect Friday July 31, restaurants and bars will be permitted to offer indoor dine-in service.

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CITY UPDATE ON SERVICES AND ActiveTO THIS W/E  

Update from the City on things that are open this weekend. 

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ONTARIO COVID19 CASES DIPS BELOW 100

For the first time since March 24 Ontario has reported fewer than 100 new cases of COVID-19.

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MASKS NOW MANDATORY IN APARTMENTS AND CONDOMINIUMS

City Council has voted in favour of a temporary bylaw requiring masks or face coverings in common areas in apartments and condominiums to protect the health and safety of our communities. 

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HOW THE CITY PLANS TO MANAGE COVID19 DEBT

 City Council voted to adopt the recommendations of a report to address the experienced and anticipated financial impacts of the pandemic and proposed options for mitigation.

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WHAT CAN  REOPEN IN STAGE 3?

Here’s the official list of businesses that can reopen in Stage 3, care of BlogTO.

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TORONTO MOVES TO STAGE 3 

Toronto and Peel Region will move into Stage 3 of Ontario’s COVID-19 recovery plan this Friday, as the province reported its fewest number of new cases since March 23.

Read A framework for reopening our Province – Phase 3 for details on what this means and the restrictions that will remain in place. 

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DON’T RETIRE THOSE SWEAT PANTS JUST YET!

Working from home in Ontario will be recommended for the ‘foreseeable future’ after Health Minister Christine Elliott said that Ontario will remain in Stage 3 until there is a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19.

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SWIMMING WARNINGS AT SOME CITY BEACHES

Unfortunately for anyone looking to cool of at a local beach, officials are warning about high levels of E. coli at some of the most popular ones.

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RIVERDALE FARM GETS $200,000 DONATION

The animals at Cabbagetown’s Riverdale Farm should be getting some new digs and more, thanks to a surprise $200,000 gift from a long-time admirer who died last year. 

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Q&A WITH CITY’S CHIEF CONTACT TRACER

Omar Ozaldin leads a team of disease detectives, dedicated to stopping the spread of Covid-19. He talks to Toronto Life about the challenges of the job, how helpful Torontonians can be, and what will happen if we get a dreaded second wave.

CITY UPDATE ON SERVICES AND ActiveTO THIS W/E  

Update from the City on things that are open this weekend. 

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ONTARIO CONTINUES TO ENCOURAGE WORK FROM HOME 

Love it or hate it, this “work-from-home all the time” thing is more permanent than most of us would have guessed back in March, when the province first declared a state of emergency.

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LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS NOW IN FULL SWING

The Cabbagetown Farmers Market will continue every Tuesday from 3 to 7 pm until October at Winchester and Sumach. The Underpass Park Market (29 Lower River Street) operates every Thursday afternoon from 4 to 7:30 pm. 

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CafeTO COMES TO CABBAGETOWN

A number of our local restaurants have added/extended their patios out front, as part of the the Cafe TO initiative. So far these include: PearTree (507 Parliament), F’Amelia (12 Amelia), Kingyo (51B Winchester), House on Parliament (454 Parliament), Saigon Pai (446 Parliament), Stout Irish Pub (221 Carlton) and Chew Chew (186 Carlton). 

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NEXT STEPS ON LEGACY OF DUNDAS STREET

The City is committed to addressing the legacy of Dundas Street and establishing a process to more broadly understand and respond to how systematic racism and discrimination are embedded in City assets, commemorative programs and naming policies.

Read the full report to the Mayor. 

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GARDINER LANE RESTRICTIONS JARVIS TO CHERRY

The City has achieved a construction milestone in the rehabilitation of the Gardiner Expressway . Crews have replaced the concrete deck and steel girders on the north half of the expressway between Jarvis and Cherry Streets. on Monday, July 27 the work zone will transition to reopen the north half of the expressway and fully close the south half of the Gardiner Expressway between Jarvis and Cherry Streets. 

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DIXON HALL SUMMER CAMP FUNDRAISER

Dixon Hall is trying to raise $65,000 to help send kids to the Dixon Hall summer camp, and to help ensure program options for those who cannot attend in person. To date, the have raised just over $14,000 towards their goal. Find out more or make a donation.

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NEED A CABBAGETOWN FLAG?

Rick Matthews at the BIA tells us he has Cabbagetown flags in stock if people are interested. You can reach him at bia@cabbagetownto.com

 

MORE CITY SERVICES AND AMENITIES OPENED (May 29)

Here’s a guide to which City services and amenities are open and which remain closed this weekend.

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TORONTO CITY COUNCIL HIGHLIGHTS (May 29)

City Council met virtually on May 28 for the first time. Here are all the highlights of the meeting.

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CITY LOOKING TO EXTEND WORK FROM HOME (May 29)

Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto, a number of other major downtown employers plus Toronto’s post-secondary institutions, will continue to support employees working from home until September at the earliest. 

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ActiveTO WILL EXPAND BIKE NETWORK (May 28) 

City Council Approves the installation of approximately 25 kilometres of new bikeways, for a total of approximately 40 kilometres of on-street cycling lanes approved for accelerated installation in 2020, as part of the ActiveTO program.

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EMERGENCY ORDERS EXTENDED (May 27)

Ontario has extended emergency orders until June 9.

These include the closure of outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, public swimming pools and outdoor water facilities, as well as bars and restaurants (except for takeout and delivery). Restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people also stay in place.

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COVID19 PRIMARILY A TORONTO AREA PROBLEM (May 27)

More than 76% of new infections are in the GTA, CBC News analysis finds.

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ARE YOUR BOXWOODS SICKLY? (May 23)

There’s an outbreak of Boxwood Leaf Miner in our neighbourhood and it’s a serious and very infectious pest. We received this email from a local resident about the problem.

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CHARITY MASK DRIVE (May 23)

Our colleagues at Cabbagetown South Residents Assoc. are doing a fundraiser and have some great masks for sale. All proceeds are going to local charities: CYC, Central Neighbourhod House and Young St Mission.

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CANNABIS STORES IN CABBAGETOWN (May 22)

There are lots of people that seem to want to open Cannabis stores in Cabbagetown. There are four applications to date, plus at least one more in progress. 

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ARE SQUIRRELS DRIVING YOU NUTS? (May 2020)

Is it just me, or are there way more squirrels in our gardens than ever before? One thing that will help is limiting their access to food – please don’t feed them! Check out this neat video that shows just how cunningly they can access your bird food!  

Along with other local resident’s associations and the BIA, the CRA has maintained a dialogue with the City regarding the plans to locate a 24-our women’s respite and drop-in centre* at 233 Carlton Street. 

For those of you that have perhaps not read it yet, this fact sheet provides more details of these plans.

This dialogue originated with Councillor Wong Tam and the SSHA. Recently the reigns have been taken over by the third-party consultants hired by the city to engage with community stakeholders. 

At the meeting with these consultants yesterday, it was made very clear that continuing to try and oppose the location of this service centre at 233 Carlton Street is a non-starter. Instead they urged those present to embrace the engagement process that they have been hired to facilitate. They want the community to help shape the success of this centre and to help identify any and all provisions that the City needs to adopt to minimize any negative impact on the community, especially in the areas of safety and security. 

The Consultants also confirmed that a public meeting will likely be organized for late January. In this meeting they plan to share the details of the engagement process, so people can better understand what steps the SSHA might consider taking to address resident’s concerns that have already been communicated to them. 

If you still wish to have your own voice heard directly, you can email Mayor John Tory (mayor_tory@toronto.ca), City Manager Chris Murray (chris.murray@toronto.ca), Councillor Wong-Tam (councillor_wongtam@toronto.ca), and/or the SSHA (SSHA.Homeless@toronto.ca). Please feel free to cc info@cabbagetowner.com on such communications.

*What exactly is a 24/7 women’s respite and drop-in centre?

The City describes it as ‘a centre that operates on a 24/7 basis providing essential services to women and transgender or gender-non-binary people experiencing homelessness, in an environment that prioritizes ease of access to safe indoor space. Services provided include resting spaces, meals and service referrals’. 

You can read more here about the scope of respite services the City of Toronto typically provides at these centres.

Some things are not just meant to be left lying around, including hazardous materials including needles/syringes and other types of paraphernalia. Staff at our Ward 28 office and Toronto Public Health have advised us that we can contact 311 to pick up hazardous material like needles or other paraphernalia. They move pretty quickly when it is reported that needles or pipes have been found in our parks and laneways. 311 is staffed 24/7.

They have also suggested that people can use a pair of kitchen tongs to safely pick up an item if you need to dispose of it before the city arrives. If you are attempting to pick up a needle, please put it in some kind of a hard container (ex. metal coffee can, Tupperware container) before throwing it in the trash. When contacting 311, make note of your reference number and if making multiple reports keep referencing that prior reference number. This helps the city track requests and ultimately deploy more resources where they are needed.

Disposing of a small baggie that might have contained drugs requires less caution than a needle. Certainly do wash your hands after handling, and you may wish to use gloves or tongs, but there is little danger to just picking up and throwing away an empty bag. Street drugs, even when cut or laced with fentanyl and other adulterants, do not pose a significant risk of opioid toxicity unless ingested. However, spotting a bag might be a sign that a needle or pipe is nearby.

Below are images of what a harm reduction kit might contain. In the images you will see two “spoons” used in the injection of drugs, as well as a blue tie off, alcohol wipes, and needles. Spotting one of these items on the street might mean there is other paraphernalia nearby. Other kinds of spoons are illustrated in the other image.
image of harm reduction kit contents image of 3 spoons

A message from Phil Frei, President, CRA:

We have received the letter, below, from the City of Toronto (from the late Councillor McConnell’s staff) about moving the Bike Share location.

In June, I attended a meeting at Riverdale Park West with city officials, who said they had concerns about snow removal with the bike station’s current location. An alternative location, at the southwest corner of the park, was proposed. I felt that the new location would address the snow clearing concerns of the city and still keep the Bike Share visibly in the park, a clear message from our early survey from this issue. The CRA has since learned there are significant concerns about the new location from our residents and good questions about why the existing location can’t be improved to deal with the snow clearing.

Given the concerns of our residents and unsatisfactory responses about improving the current location, we question the need for this Bike Share relocation. Please feel free to write Kelly Sather at the Ward 28 council office individually, but we would also like to hear from you so that we can have a co-ordinated response representing our membership. Write to us at info@cabbagetowner.com.

Letter from Kelly Sather, Consituency Assistant, Ward 28 Councillor’s Office:

I am writing to keep the CRA updated on the location of the Bike Share location in Riverdale Park West. (The late) Pam McConnell and I met with residents, our local Parks supervisor, and Bike Share staff on site in June to discuss the possibility of finding a new location for the Bike Share dock.

During that meeting, a location near the southwest entrance to the park presented itself as a possible new location and staff will be moving forward with moving the dock to this location.

This new location was deemed appropriate because it provided enough space for the dock and the right amount of sunlight to power the station, and was conveniently located next to other bike locks. Further, the location does not infringe upon any otherwise useable park green space that could be used for other activities.

I will continue to take feedback from residents and evaluate this new location at the end of September. The new location is not necessarily permanent and residents can contact me directly at ksather@toronto.ca with feedback, suggestions and concerns. Moving a dock doesn’t require any permanent infrastructure so it isn’t terribly difficult to relocate it from one part of the park to another.

Thanks to our neighbours from Cabbagetown South Residents’ Association for this information! Cabbagetown South (bordered by Carlton to the north, Parliament to the East, Shuter to the south and Sherbourne to the west) was a test neighbourhood for the city’s new, larger green bins, which proved to be difficult for some residences with limited storage or yard space.

Cabbagetown South volunteers met with staff from Solid Waste Management (SWM) earlier this summer and report there are three alternatives to accepting the new, larger green bins, which are scheduled for delivery by SWM in mid-September

Call 311 if you want to arrange for an alternative solution.

1. Exterior clear plastic bag
– You can put smaller plastic bags within the larger exterior clear plastic bags.

– Does not matter what kind of the smaller plastic bags (not black).

– Seal with green painters’ tape with “organics” written on it or, with a black marker, write a big letter “O” on the bag to identify your bag contains organics.

– You can keep your existing green bin and use it to store organics between pickups.

 – The old green bin will not be picked up at the curb.

– Your bag must be put out on the morning of pickup day, not the night before.

– If there is room in your neighbour’s (new) green bin already at the curb, place your clear plastic bag inside

– If animals get into organics bags, it is the homeowners’ responsibility to clean the mess

2. Share the new green bin with a neighbour
Talk with your neighbours and see if you can share a bin. 

3. Combo bin for recycling/garbage plus new green bin (only two bins per household instead of three)

– The dual bin has a fluorescent green lid so SWM staff can identify it.

– Residents can arrange to have one bin for both recycling and garbage. Call 311.

– Only put out the garbage on Garbage Day and recycling on Recycling Day

–  If there is a mix of garbage and recycling in the bin, it will not be picked up.

A new green bin will be delivered to you during a regular pickup day in mid-September. Call 311 if you want to arrange an alternative option. SWM may want to meet at your home to determine which option might work best. Your present green bin will be taken away unless you arrange otherwise.

Residents might also consider using bags and tags for their garbage and the bag option for recycling, getting rid of their bins altogether.  

Read more information on the SWM website.

 

The City of Toronto is inviting residents to have their say about proposed rules for short-term rentals (such as Airbnb) via an online survey. Residents in Cabbagetown and nearby Winchester Park certainly have had some issues with some such rentals, so now’s the time to have our voices heard.

On June 19, 2017, City of Toronto Executive Committee directed Municipal Licensing & Standards (ML&S) and City Planning to consult the public on proposed zoning bylaw amendments and licensing and registration framework. The proposed regulations are to:

– Amend the City’s zoning bylaws to create a new land use called “short-term rental” that is permitted in principal residences across the city;

– Prohibit short-term rentals that are not in a person’s principal residence;

– License companies that facilitate short-term rental activity, like Airbnb; and

– Create a registry for anyone who operates a short-term rental in their home.

The proposed definition of a short-term rental includes all or part of a home or apartment that is a principal residence of the short-term rental operator and is offered for rent for fewer than 28 days at a time.

The city invites you to complete the short survey to provide your feedback on these proposed rules. The survey will be available online until August 18, 2017.  

The input that you provide will inform the final recommendations that staff will report to City Council in the fourth quarter of 2017.

For more information, please visit toronto.ca/mlshaveyoursay. Please note that public consultation meeting dates will be made available online once they finalized.

 

The Laneway Project, the Canadian Urban Institute and the Community Bicycle Network are working together to explore opportunities for using laneways to fill gaps in Toronto’s cycling network.

The project will identify challenges and possible solutions that can be implemented in the short and medium terms, while more significant infrastructure investment is being undertaken as part of the City’s Cycling Network Ten Year Plan. Please refer to the Project Backgrounder for an overview of Toronto’s cycling and laneway networks today, current cycling trends and stats, and some observed challenges and opportunities.

As part of this initiative, they have prepared a short survey to gain input from Torontonians living and working around the city’s laneway network, both cyclists and non-cyclists, regarding the challenges and opportunities that exist for using Toronto’s laneways as cycle routes.

Cabbagetown is filled with laneways and it’s important that our voices be heard in this initiative, so please take a few minutes to fill out the survey.

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