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Welcome to Cabbagetown South Residents' Association

If you live or work in downtown Toronto, Canada, between Parliament and Sherbourne, Carlton and Shuter Streets, then we are your neighbourhood residents' association.  For info on the next meetings click the events section on the sideboard. 

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Purpose of Cabbagetown South

  • To promote measures which enhance the beauty, safety, and environmental and economic viability of the Cabbagetown South area.
  • To promote the general quality of residential and economic life in and around the Cabbagetown South area.
  • To promote a sense of community within the Cabbagetown South area that respects the diversity of people in the Cabbagetown South area.
  • To undertake or support projects requiring or benefiting from community support which are intended to advance the above objectives.
  • To oppose measures which diminish the above.



 
eNewsletter

Volume 6, Issue 2, March 2017    

Spring has arrived in Cabbagetown South.


The tulips are up in the Allan Garden Greenhouses and there are a lot more bulbs planted in the garden beds surrounding the courtyard out front. Thanks to several neighbourhood gardeners that pitched in last fall and helped plant thousands of bulbs. We are looking forward to that showing in the weeks to come.  

Our next meeting (Safe Laneways and Police) is Wednesday April 5 at 7pm at the Hey Lucy Cafe, 229 Carlton Street (just east of Berkeley Street) at 7pm. Some of us arrive around 6 for dinner beforehand.  Please join us.


We have asked Community Police Team from 51 Division to attend and look forward to their take on safety in and around the neighbourhood. Laneways are also on the agenda for discussion and we have a laneway survey we hope you will complete. (see below)  You might have a look at the attached website link to see what is happening with laneways in other areas of the city and other cities around the globe.  Click here.  The warmer weather often brings a lot of activity and unwanted behaviour to the area parks, and laneways so we are hoping to be a step ahead.

   

If you live or work in downtown Toronto, Canada, between Parliament and Sherbourne, Carlton and Shuter Streets, then we are your neighbourhood residents' association.  Join us!  If you have a neighbour who might be interested in our newsletter or learning about us, or might attend our next meeting, please pass it on. 


Safe Laneway Survey


After a walk around the district’s laneways, it soon becomes apparent that the condition and upkeep varies dramatically from lane to lane. Relying on the City for basic clean-up is a slow process and the upkeep is constant. Over the years, some residents have coordinated their efforts to take ownership of their lanes and have made tremendous improvements while other lanes are subject to chronic illegal practices and have property owners that have turned a blind eye to basic upkeep and the laneways have languished in a constant state of illegal dumping and seedy and illegal activities.

We need your input on how the laneways are doing. You will receive a survey by separate email shortly.   Please give us your views on the areas laneways and how we might improve the safety and look of our laneways.

Developement in the area continues to skyrocket.

The number of proposals and development in the area continues at an unprecedented rate with many dizzying heights. For more information please have a look at this recent Urban Toronto compilation.  Both the Oben Flats proposal at 307 Sherbourne and the Beer Store at 227 Gerrard proposal are highlighted. Click here.


What we are working on for 2017 

Response to Development Application filed with city for Beer Store redevelopment

  

There was a large turn out to the recent planning meeting regarding the Beer Store proposal. Area resident Jordan Allison has compiled a detailed response regarding the design and the plan. To read it please click here

For detailed information about the current plan please click here.  


It is interesting to note that there is a similar plan for the Beer Store at Logan and Gerrard which is only six storeys high. To look at that plan click here


A similar plan is also in the works for a Beer Store at Avenue Road and Lawrence. To see that plan click here


Both of those plans include more family sized 2 bedroom units while the proposal for our area is for more 1 bedroom units.      


Proposed Stormwater Charge

Cabbagetown South Residents Association has become aware of The City of Toronto is considering making changes to our water bills.  

They are considering separating out a storm water charge based on the impact a customer has on the storm water system.  The proposed storm water charge would be based on the square footage of your residential lot.  

The money from the proposed storm water charge would be dedicated to paying for storm water management.  It initially looks to be revenue neutral but would affect those with larger properties that have a large floor plate ratio to the lot or large paved spaces. 

CSRA suspects that this is the first step in charging property owners for storm system replacement. They are not providing a lot of background information.

Before the City of Toronto starts changing the billing system as property owners need to know.

Does the city intend to replace old storm sewers?  Would replacing the storm sewers reduce or eliminate the problem of flooding and water quality?  How much is that going to cost?  Is the plan to have these projects funded solely from the storm water charge?  

The City is far behind developing innovative/proactive storm water solutions and with the amount of density springing up across the City, the current storm water systems are reaching capacity.. 

There is a community consultation meeting regarding this proposal at Metro Hall on March 30th at 7pm.  City Staff will be on hand from 4pm to answer questions.   It is important that residents ask questions and voice any concerns about this proposal.

The city has also asked for your input by completing a survey (follow the links).

You can also submit feedback and questions by clicking the attached link and going to the Feedback button. Click here.


Community Art Program

We have organized an afternoon course in the art of mosaic making.  Area resident Elena Martoglio will be leading classes to create mosaic Maple Leaf address markers. We hope that neighbours will post their finished mosaic on the rear of their property to help police, fire personal in identifying the street address. Or you can post it elsewhere as a small marker of Canada's 150th birthday. The class will be limited to 8 people and Elena will offer up other dates should there be broad interest in the project. The first course will be held at 185 Carlton Street on Sunday April 23 at 2-5pm. The special introductory course cost per person is $35.00. If you would prefer to just purchase a finished maple leaf we can arrange that as well.  It is our hope that we will eventually get some funding to cover a larger community mosaic similar to the one at Ontario Street Park.  If anyone has some experience in filing grant applications we could use your assistance. To sign up to the course please contact Elena at elenamartoglio@gmail.com.  


Allan Gardens Spring Flower and Easter Show

The greenhouse continues to flourish with lots of spring bulbs and Easter lilies. We had an improvised tour in March and plan on a weekend tour in the weeks to come. Will keep you advised. 

The greenhouses are a great spot to spend an hour enjoying the atmosphere, warmth, sounds and sights of this urban sanctuary. It is a great spot to take some photographs. 

If flowers are not your thing the cactus display is always surprising and there are lots of koi and goldfish in the ponds as well as a small replica water mill and a surprising number of turtles to help entertain kids and adults alike.  

Friends of Allan Gardens have several activities planned and are looking for volunteers to help make the gardens more attractive and getting area residents involved in gardening. For more information click here.

There is also an interesting cactus and succulent show and sale coming up on Sunday June 4th at the greenhouses. Free admission. For more information please click here.  

Toronto District School Board considering Elementary School for the Arts

In 2016 area residents approached our School Trustee Chris Moise and the Toronto District School Board about the feasibility of establishing an arts focused middle school (Grades 6-8) within Toronto Centre-Rosedale. We have been advised that the School Board's planning department is actively working on a plan for an Elementary Arts Programs in the downtown core to likely open in September, 2019. They will first conduct a study in the 2017-2018 school year.  Should you have any interest or concerns about the proposal the contact person at TDSB is Administrative Liaison Joselyn Nalli email Joselyn.Nalli@tdsb.on.ca. Please cc us at info@cabbagetownsouth.ca. You can also have a look at their website regarding program proposals. Click here.

Here is a brief outline of our proposal to the board and Chris.

Why is there a need for an elementary arts program? 

A) Magnet programs similar to the one we are proposing exist in the north and west part of the city but currently there is no arts focused middle school in the downtown core.

Examples in the west & north:

  1. Karen Kane School of the Arts in Etobicoke (Grade 6-8) is often a de facto feeder school for Etobicoke School of the Arts
  2. Claude Watson School for the Arts in North York (Grades 4-8) is often a de facto feeder school for Earl Haig – Claude Watson.

* Rosedale School of the Arts at Castlefrank and Bloor does not have a de facto feeder school.

B) At present, a number of families within the catchment area choose not to send their children to our local schools. We believe that an arts school would work to change a negative perception that many people in our community have of our schools. Specialized programs can also work to enrich the culture of a school and the community. An example of how a program can change a community’s perception of its local school is the IB program at Monarch Park Collegiate. This program made people consider MPC as a viable academic alternative for their children, even if they were not going to be attending for the IB program.

C) There are existing private & separate school options for families that can afford an enriched arts education thus indicating a demand (of course, these draw students out of the public school system).

Examples:

  1. Voice Intermediate School, Distillery District – Tuition $17,000 plus additional costs
  2. St Michael’s Choir School – Tuition $5,475 plus additional costs
  3. National Ballet School – Tuition $15,575 plus additional costs

D) An arts school would provide an equal opportunity for students and families who are seeking an enriched arts education. An arts school in our neighbourhood would also create a larger pool of diverse applicants for the established arts high schools and local high school arts programs. It would also attract students and families into the community who are looking for this type of opportunity.

E) It would also create an opportunity for students and staff to partner with community arts organizations:

Possible partnerships:

  1. Regent Park School of Music
  2. Native Earth
  3. Young People’s Theatre
  4. Soulpepper Theatre Company
  5. Crows Theatre Company
  6. Canadian Rep Company
  7. CanStage

  

Moss Park/519 Church Community Center.

The Moss Park Team has submitted their final recommendations regarding the proposed new John Innis Community Center. Despite vocal objections to the relocation of the building onto the playing fields and tennis courts the 519 Design Team has submitted a plan for a new building to the city. To view the plan please click here.

The Garden District is very concerned about the plan to put up a much larger building on the west side of the park. To look at their position paper please click here. The 519 Moss Park Team have come back with a slightly modified plan very similar to their original proposal for a brand new and very large building rather than a revamp of the old community center and rink. 


Oben Flats at Sherbourne and Gerrard

We have been advised by city planners that the next step will be for the proposal to go to East York Council who will review the proposal and planning report. At this time area residents will be given the opportunity to speak or write about their concerns about the plan.  Will advise when we hear when this meeting is to take place.


We need your help to organize a community clean up day, a community garage/yard sale and a rain water barrel fundraiser.


Community Clean up Day


If you have some spare time we need help with organizing a community clean up the weekend of April 22. You would need to pick a particular block or laneway and arrange with the city to pick up the litter, recycling and leaf bags after the clean up.  It is important to note that in the past we have had some problems with residents using the drop off site for large household items which is not the idea.  It is a litter clean up not an opportunity for folks to clear out their basements and garages.  If you are interested in organizing a clean up with your neighbours check out the city website and book a pick up location. Let us know what block or laneway you are covering and we will let other volunteers willing to help when and where to meet.  Here is the link.  


Saturday May 13 Community Yard Sale

We need someone willing to organize a community yard sale the weekend of May 13, 2017. We need someone to co-ordinate street /block reps and help with advertising posters and various websites such as Craigslist. It has proven popular in the past and if you have an interest in running a coummunity wide sale please let us know. 


Rain Barrel Fundraising

We need help with fundraising and the Rain Barrel Fundraising Program might be a good fit for our neighbourhood. We need a volunteer willing to reach out to neighoburs and see if there is interest in purchasing rain barrels to divert runoff from downspouts to help the environment and help reduce their water bills. Have a look at their website and see if this is something you might be willing to do to help out.  Here is the link.  


 

Please contact us at info@cabbagetownsouth.ca




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How to find out about development plans in our area.

If you want to check out the status of development applications in our area you can do so by clicking the link below.  If it is a large project hit the button titled Community Planning if a small project hit the button tilted Committee of Adjustment.  Fill in the city district (Toronto & East York) and the street address, Ward # (28) and then hit the search button.  A blue thumbtack will appear on the map.  Click the thumbtack and a box will pop up.  Click the learn more link and another screen will appear with the Development Application and a link to supporting documents.  You will then have access to drawings, plans, and other documentation regarding the plan.  To do this please click Here.



Cabbagetown South Safe Laneways Project

Our association recently met with a group called The Laneway Project to discuss solutions around problems with laneways in our area.   The idea is to see if there are ways we can change the design and function of our laneways to help deter unwanted behaviour.   Laneways are often being used as toilets, Illegal dumping, street level prostitution and drug dealing and drug use.  We need to take back our laneways by creating spaces that are attractive and safe for area residents to walk, ride bicycles, park their vehicles, play with their kids, exercise their dogs etc..

Several area residents have made great strides in taking on laneway gardening projects and engaging their neighbours in keeping the laneways green and litter free.  One big challenge that we need to raise funds for is the watering of these laneway gardens during hot dry spells in the summer.  We are working on getting information about who offers such services and what the cost would be to cover watering when the weather does not cooperate.   

We have created a small working group that will look at all our laneways to determine what laneways are in good condition and relatively problem free and those which need a lot of work.  We then hope to create a master plan for laneway revitalizaton that will look at improving laneway hardscape, lighting, solutions for graffiti and making the laneways safe and inviting.

PAVEMENT STRATEGY:

INTRODUCTION and SURVEY QUESTIONS:

Some paving surfaces in the laneways are in dire need of a proper repaving and have been poorly patched over the years posing a hazard for cars and cyclists. For those people who have walked through the lanes of Regent Park, you will notice a completely different, family-friendly environment with a mix of paving types/surfaces that define sections of the lanes. This gives the lane character by breaking it up in relation to adjacent buildings, lots or changes in direction or lane type. What you may not realize is the pavement itself performs a vital role in managing stormwater run-off into Lake Ontario. The porous concrete paving bricks allow water to regenerate the water table while greatly reducing run off that over burdens the storm sewer system and pollutes the Lake.

As a connection between Regent Park and the Garden District, Cabbagetown South holds an opportunity to define our neighbourhood as a genuinely unique district while being part of a greater plan. However, if we don’t champion a vision, we will be left with patchwork of quick-fix solutions that further perpetuate the conditions we find today.


 To read more click here.

Problematic Properties in Cabbagetown South

Area residents recently met Councillor Pam McConnell, executive assistant Kelly Sather and  city by-law staff, health department staff, representatives from police and fire departments to tackle the ongoing issue of problematic properties in Cabbagetown South.  It was our hope that meeting with a large contingent of city staff from various departments that a consolidated effort to address ongoing problems around housing conditions, safety, and in some cases criminal activity could leverage a positive outcome to improve the conditions of poorly maintained/managed properties.  To read more click here.


Proposal for large development at Ontario Street south of Queen

The City of Toronto is hosted a meeting on May 30th regarding a large proposal to redevelop a property at Ontario Street south of Queen.

The site includes the former Ontario Paint Store location which burned down several years ago as well as what was a heritage listed commercial building illegally demolished by the owner last year.  For an article on the demolition and reprecussions of that action please click here.

The photograph is from the grounds of Moss Park Apartments looking south west.

The scope of the proposal is large and would have a big impact on the area.  Several large warehouses on Richmond and Ontario would be demolished and replaced by three large condos with heights up to nearly 50 storeys. To read more click here.

Our Board Members for 2017.

President Jeff Lookong, and Vice President Don Purvis welcome Karen Marrin, Bryan Jones, Tanya English, Nadeem Ahmed, Louis- Philippe Rochon,  Elena Martoglio, Diana Flynn, Mike Laidlaw and Michael Portnoy to our 2016 Board.  

We were also pleased that several area residents have volunteered to help with Community Police Liaison Committee, marketing and social events for the coming year.  Thanks to everyone who turned out for our AGM on a cold and snowy February night.  Our plan to delay our first meeting of the year until the spring in hopes of better weather did not work out so well.  We need a few weeks to meet as a board and come up with our spring schedule and some interesting guest speakers.  Watch for our emails and e newsletter update in the weeks to come. 


We always need volunteers to take on special projects for 2017


Again we ask for volunteers willing to help out a couple of hours per month on various projects.  We need help with our gardening projects, social events, membership and communication.  Please take the time to look at our stated Purpose of Cabbagetown South above.   If you have some spare time,please introduce yourself to one of our board members at our meetings or contact us at info@cabbagetownsouth.ca 

For the latest updates, click here.


         

Revamped Sherbourne/Gerrard redevelopment proposal slated to go to Community Council                                             

The Oben Flats proposal for a market rate apartment building on the vacant lot at Sherbourne and Gerrard has been revamped after the last public consultation.  To have a look at the entire revised plan/documents please go to the City of Toronto  Application Site, click Application Information Center (AIC) and fill in the boxes.  Address is 307 Sherbourne Street.  Here is a photo of the original rendering for comparison to the rendering available in the City Application Site. We will advise when the meeting at Community Council is announced.  Area residents with concerns about the proposal or in support of the proposal will be given an opportunity to speak at that community council meeting.


Since the initial application submission, proposal has been modified as follows:

  • Height of podium has been reduced by one storey; 
  • Height of tower has increased by one storey; 
  • Reduction in GFA by approx. 220 square metres (reducing number of units from 94 to 93);
  • Removal of landscape strip at rear property line;
  • Removal of the private patios located at-grade along Sherbourne Street

Heritage Preservation Services 

  • The elevations were modified to address the comments pertaining to the outboard balconies on the north façade of the proposed development as received from City Planning and Heritage Preservation Services during the June 30, 2016 meeting. The balconies have been removed from the sixth floor only, while the seventh floor balconies have been retained to align with the underside of the soffit at the southwest corner and outboard balconies on the seventh floor, south facade.

 Development Engineering 

  • The parking supply has been provided on site as requested (0.38 residential spaces and 0.05 visitor spaces per unit).
  • A site plan has been modified to include the collection vehicle's movement.
  • Solid Waste Management Services: the drawings have been revised to show the ability of the collection to enter and exit the site in a forward motion with no more than a three-point turn. 
  • Drawings include a Type G loading space. 
  • The drawings have been revised to include a 5.0 metre corner rounding required at Sherbourne Street and Gerrard Street East. 
  • The Functional Servicing and Stormwater Management Report has been modified.

Tree Protection & Plan Review

  • Tree protection (including hoarding location and distances) has been included on the plan.
For information about how Community Council Meetings work here is an interesting website.

                                           

The plan for a 13 story market rate apartment building at Sherbourne and Gerrard was the topic for discussion at a recent community planning meeting in January.  Oben Flats development team gave a brief outline of the proposal to interested neighbours.  To see the plan please click here.  The city planner, heritage planner and Councillor McConnell then gave area residents an opportunity to voice their concerns, support and offer up suggestions about the proposal.  City planner Jennifer Renaud advised that the plan is in its early stages and has not been approved.  We were advised however that the site has been previously identified as a high building site by city planners.  For information about tall building sites and the rationale in identifying such sites please click here.   Heritage planner Paul Maka advised that the proposed building is subject to some heritage planning regulations due to its location across for Heritage Designated Allan Gardens and the heritage designated building on the south west corner adjacent to the vacant lot.  

Immediate neighbours voiced concerns about the size and the architectural style of the building. The concern about potential shading of Gerrard Street and Allan Gardens was also raised.    The developer provided a shading study which did seem to indicate the shading of Allan Gardens is  not an issue.    

Some neighbours indicated they liked the idea of market rate apartments,and liked the architectural design of the building and the need to redevelop the long vacant lot.  

Concerns were raised about the height and the look of the building and how the proposed building would impact on the heritage character of the neighbourhood.  Area architects suggested that the podium height is inappropriate and needs to be reduced to a three storey podium to better connect with the surrounding buildings.  Many area residents voiced the need for some commercial/retail space on the ground floor to help anchor retail mix along Gerrard Strreet.     Other neighbours felt that although our area has not yet designated, the neighbourhood is slated under study as a Heritage Conservation District and any new development should be subject to height and design in keeping with the surrounding streetscape.  

There were also concerns about the lack of street parking in the area and that tenants and guests will further tax the availability of street parking in the area.  Oben Flats representatives countered that parking reviews in the area indicated that most area buildings have an excess of parking spots and that most tenants will opt not to own a vehicle due to the walkabilty of the neighbourhood and proximity to the downtown core employment areas.  

Some area residents felt the increased density with new tenants able to pay market rent would help increase the economic development of retail and commercial buildings on Gerrard Street.  Others felt the height of the building is in keeping with Sherbourne Streetscape and were relieved that a much taller building was not being proposed.

The next steps will be for the City Planner to review the comments of the community and responding to the applicant. ObenFlats can either then revise their plans, or go to the OMB with the plans now on file.  We will keep you abreast with any new developments regarding this proposal.  

Further reading that might be of interest is a paper published by the Confederaton of Resident and Ratepayer Associations in Toronto (CORRA).  They are reviewing a proposed Development Permit System which would be a fundamental shift in Toronto's planning process to a "vision based neighbourhood scale" planning process.  For more information please click here.





 

Crimes to Report?

Whenever a crime or a suspicious incident occurs, report it.  If it is an emergency call 911 if ongoing issues such as noise complaints, street level prostitution or drug dealing call non emergency response at 416 808 2222.  And get the incident number.  Follow up with Community Police Officers.

Police Constable Julie Rice phone 647 921 6395 email julie.rice@torontopolice.on.ca

Police Constable Scott Hodgson phone 647 921 6395 email scott.hodgson@torontopolice.on.ca

For issues at Toronto Community Housing properties such as noise, drug dealing, etc.follow up with 

Community Safety Advisor Michael Bezoff phone 416 899 8454 email michael.bezoff@torontohousing.ca

Officers from 51 Division point out that the more calls they receive from a particular neighbourhood, the more patrols that neighbourhood receives.  If problems are persistent it is also recommended you contact

Staff Sergeant Henry Dyck directly at 416 808 5152 to follow up. His email is henry.dyck@torontopolice.on.ca

Emailing a general complaint form is also a great idea as it helps determine the number of officers assigned to particular divisions. Click here.

  


  

 

 

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