Thanks to everyone who was able to attend our General Members' Meeting on Monday March 20, 2023. We were fortunate to have some interesting speakers from the City of Toronto; Esther Afriat from Parks, Forestry & Recreation and John Francisco from Strategic Initiatives, Encampment Office, as well as University Rosedale Councillor Dianne Saxe.
Councillor Saxe gave a brief overview of her priorities and responsibilities, including parks, snow clearing, sidewalk safety and introduced Rebecca Sullivan as the Constituency Assistant for the Bay Cloverhill area. Residents are encouraged to sign up for Ward 11 University Rosedale monthly newsletter at www.diannesaxe.ca.
Esther Afriat outlined the Parks Ambassador program, wherein teams of 2 connect with unhoused people in parks to build relationships, conduct safety checks, distribute socks or water and provide referrals. The spring clean up of Breadalbane Park, Clover Hill Park, Dr. Lillian McGregor Park and Opera Place will start in mid-April once seasonal staff are hired. These parks will be serviced 2 to 3 times weekly. Parks Ambassadors monitor encampments, store unclaimed items and restore any damage to parks. There were no overnight sleepers or encampments in Bay Cloverhill parks. In Toronto Centre and University Rosedale, the number of overnight sleepers and encampments have reduced dramatically. Citywide there were 1728 referrals in 2021, 1855 referrals in 2022 and 123 referrals so far in 2023. Portable toilets have been installed in some parks due to the shortage of available washrooms during the pandemic. Permanent washrooms are cost prohibitive to build but are being considered in park planning.
John Francisco provided information about encampment outreach through the Streets to Homes program in our area. They provide services 24/7 with referrals to temporary facilities, with the goal of finding permanent housing for individuals. In conjunction with Toronto Paramedic Services, wellness checks are conducted. Multi-Disciplinary Outreach Teams (MDOT) consisting of outreach workers, case managers, registered nurses, housing workers and psychiatrists offer mental and primary health care support. The Streets to Homes Assessment and Referral Centre at Queen and Spadina operates as a warming centre during extreme cold alerts.
The results from the community survey from January 2023 were reviewed. 75 responses were received and the information provided will help prioritize what is important to the neighbourhood. A member's report is provided on the website. An action plan was developed for key areas of concern.
Jack Candido presented an update on the walking path in the Bay Cloverhill neighbourhood, temporarily referred to as the North Downtown Yonge Green Loop. The route goes through the Bay Cloverhill neighbourhood, as well as Church Wellesley, McGill Granby and College Park areas. Planning is underway with the City. The City’s naming process will be engaged with the help of the community, Twelve Parks Walk or Twelve Parks Linx are possible names. Directional signage will likely be a pole wrap with distinctive colours that will need to be designed.
Updates on developments under construction:
The approved projects where construction is pending are:
Proposed development projects that are in the planning process are:
Highlights from the Wednesday February 1st 52 Division CPLC meeting were passed on. Guest speaker Community Response Unit Sergeant Richard Bobbis spoke about Crowd Dynamics and Demonstrations. There are only 3 CRU units (used to be 17) with officers in yellow vests. Different types of crowds were explained with larger crowds having the potential to be problematic. ‘Atmospherics’ or types of people in crowd are a signal if there will be physical violence. Anarchists identify with black flags/signs and communist leaning anti-fascists represented with a red flag – both groups cause issues. There were 500-600 downtown protests last year. Community reports included pedestrian cyclist collision on Queen’s Park, illegal parking, mental health issues, scams like taxi fraud, delivery cyclists on sidewalks. Crime analytics showed an increase in crimes, but the area is still safe generally; although there has been increased media attention about TTC incidents. The new courthouse at Armoury and University will be opening this month to replace the College Park, Scarborough and North York court facilities. TPS is finding it difficult to fill pay duty assignments, with TTC mandatory overtime (that just finished) costing $60k day. Encampments in Allan Gardens have been reduced. There were some protests associated with Ontario Line construction at Osgoode Hall, Moss Park, Don Valley River area. The auxiliary officer program was rebooted after the pandemic, as the majority of existing volunteers have been hired full time by police departments.
Michael L. has spoken to the commercial property manager regarding the community’s concerns about the possibility of alcohol being at the 7/11 at St. Joseph and Bay. He also reached out to Walk Toronto regarding our sidewalk safety campaign without any response. Christine D. will contact them.
Community feedback for concerns and issues was reviewed from the last meeting. There was no consensus on the handling of the Sir John A. MacDonald statue in Queen’s Park, so it will be left up to the provincial government subcommittee. Toronto Park Enforcement has been asked to ticket illegally parked cars on the Bay Street Urban Clearway, including the bike lanes. Delivery bikes on sidewalk continues to be an issue. There will be another enforcement/education blitz by Toronto Police Services this Spring for 2 or 3 months. Illegal parking on Cottage Lane has been brought to the attention of Toronto Parking Enforcement to ticket illegally parked cars.
Irene K. explained about a new crime notification service www.mycommunitywatch.org that provides periodic updates on different categories of crime within a selected radius of your address.