Wednesday, January 5, 2022
A few months ago, the Glen Andrew Community Association shared this post about rooming houses that sacrifices the true character of our community. There are plenty of ways rooming houses negatively affect our community.
Please read about it here
The Character of Our Community is under Threat.A Message from your Glen Andrew Community Association
The 7 bathrooms tell the story: this is a rooming house.
…desirable for the appropriate development or use of the land, building or structure; and
…general intent and purpose of the by-law and of the official plan are maintained.
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Dear Glen Andrew residents:
On July 14th City Council came very close to passing By-laws that would allow any house in Glen Andrew to be converted to a rooming house.
“What’s a rooming house?”
Mayor Tory thinks this is a great idea. He pulled it off the agenda when a storm of protest rained down on Council from neighbourhoods like Glen Andrew.
The Councillors he appointed to his Planning and Housing Committee think it’s a great idea. They voted 5 to zero in favour of it back on June 28th. All 5 of them represent ‘downtown’ Wards shown in yellow below:
- Not one of them comes from Scarborough.
- None of them come from North York or Etobicoke.
- Every one of them is confident that if they give Property Standards staff an extra $4.5 million a year they will take care of any/every property standards problem that may arise when absentee landlords convert the house next to you to a rooming house.
- Every one of them is confident if they give our Fire Department an extra $1.8 million a year they will make sure every absentee landlord does a great job rewiring the house next to you and putting in smoke alarms.
These 5 think rooming houses are such a great idea they want to waive Building Permit fees for absentee landlords when they break up the house next t you into 6 rooming house units. You pay Building Permit fees. I pay Building Permit fees. Absentee landlords won’t.
We Are So Rich - Free Money Number One: You and I are charged fees for Building Permits when we want to improve our homes. But hey, that would be pretty hard on some guy who wants to buy the house next door to you and convert it to a rooming house. So he will get his Building Permit free of charge!
We Are So Rich - Free Money Number Two: These 5 Councillors believe the city has so much cash sitting around we should give absentee landlords grants to buy and convert the house next door to you. They want to call it the “Multi-Tenant Housing Renovation and Retrofit Program.”
We Are So Rich - Free Money Number Three: These 5 Councillors represent Ward where rooming houses have been permitted for some time. The owners pay a fee between $100 and $300 a year. It helps cover the costs of enforcing basic property standards.
But charging absentee landlords annual fees just makes these rooms less ‘affordable’… so no way. They want to drop the annual license fee to $25 per room AND no charge at all for ‘non-profit’ absentee landlords.
Worried About Fire Safety: No Problem! Toronto Fire Department told these 5 Councillors that 11 rooming houses caught fire over the last five years because of faulty wiring.
But these 5 Councillors believe it’s just too expensive for absentee landlords to do a thorough electrical inspection. I mean we can trust these guys to run all the new wires and plug them into the old fuse box in the basement all by themselves, right? So no inspection for their home wiring job.
Security Deposit: One of our Councillors from Scarborough asked Staff to think about maybe charging rooming house operators a security deposit to get their license. If the absentee landlord failed to meet minimum property maintenance standards (including things like grass cutting, snow clearing, garbage removal, wildlife control), the security deposit could be cashed in and used to pay for remediation.
Staff response was: No! We can’t do that! “It would be a challenge to calculate and charge a security deposit…” and “, it would put an additional financial burden on operators…”
So forget that!
Fraternity/Sorority Homes: Absentee landlords can break up the house next to you and call it a fraternity or sorority house. The people who move in just have to be members of “…an active chapter of a bona fide national or international student fraternity or sorority.”
Sure! Property Standards staff are all trained and ready to check out the ‘bonafides’ of every fraternity run out of any one of the 194 countries around the world. No problem reading documents in any of the worlds’ dozens and dozens of scripts!
Another Layer of Bureaucracy Will Solve Everything
The old City of Toronto has a ‘Rooming Housing Licensing Commission’.
It has the power to issue, suspend, renew, or revoke a rooming house license.
It can place conditions on the owner of the rooming house in doing so.
The 5 Councillors who think this is a great idea want to give it a new name and expand it to cover the whole city. They will call it the ‘Multi-Tenant Licensing Tribunal’.
It’ll cost just $422 thousand a year. Well…that’s actually only a ‘preliminary estimate’. That doesn’t include the buildings they have to rent and fit-out, interpreter costs, Tribunal remuneration, and legal support costs. No problem! We’ll hear about those costs later.
Block Busting and Speculators Rejoice!
If this thing passes there will be no limit on where they can go. No limit on how many can go on the same street.
No doubt there are some well-meaning, well-financed rooming house operators who are interested in maintaining their properties. It’s the ones who don’t that concern Glen Andrew homeowners.
If this thing passes our Councillors will have handed every small-time property speculator just exactly what they need to start buying up and running down homes anywhere in Glen Andrew.
Property Standards Officers have an awful job. They only get called in when people run out of all patience with a neighbour who is supremely disinterested in maintaining their property. They try their best to persuade people to maintain their property. If that fails they have to resort to inspections, issuing citations, waiting for court dates, lawyers, evidence, appeals, etc. By the time they get a conviction, IF they can persuade a Judge to take it seriously… the fines are trivial. With no security deposit and a $26 annual license fee, the speculators will look at court costs as just the cost of doing business.
When enough of the homes on a street are broken up and run down, it gets easier to buy up more homes on the street. The process continues until everyone is so fed up the City might as well look at the speculators’ plans to knock them down and build apartments and townhouses.
When Scarborough decided it wanted its own high-density mixed-use ‘downtown’ north of Ellesmere in Scarborough Centre, the promise was made to the people living in Glen Andrew that their stable, family-oriented neighbourhood would be protected from speculators. That promise has been kept for 40 years.
If these five downtown Councillors and Mayor Tory pass this rooming house by-law It will be ‘open-season’ on Glen Andrew’s family-oriented housing. All along Ellesmere. All along Brimley Road. All along McCowan. Anywhere near our local plazas.
Where Does Our Councillor, Michael Thompson Stand?
When the 5 Councillors on Planning and Housing Committee discussed the Rooming House By-law back on June 28th every other member of Council was allowed to attend the meeting and ask questions.
You can watch the video of the meeting by going to: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/video.do?id=19740 and clicking on the tab for PH25.10.
Councillor Cynthia Lai for the Agincourt area of Scarborough attended the meeting.
- She spoke up.
- She asked questions on behalf of her residents.
- She spoke up.
- She asked questions on behalf of her residents.
Councillor Thompson did not show up.
Which way will Michael Thompson vote when Mayor Tory and the 5 downtown Councillors bring this back to Council in September?
You can tell Councillor Thompson which way you would like him to vote by emailing his office at: email@example.com
Lorne Ross for the Glen Andrew Community Association.
You can read the 71 page report from City Staff at: https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2021/ph/bgrd/backgroundfile-168253.pdf
You can read a news story about how this all started in Parkdale at:
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Glen Andrew Community Association, along with the members of the Highland Creek community ask you to sign the petition to stop the Metrolinx Busway along Ellesmere Rd.
You can read more about what this plan will do to traffic and to businesses on our blog here: Update on Metrolinx Transit Expansion Projects
Monday, July 12, 2021
Mayor and Members
Toronto Executive Committee
via email to: Cathrine Regan
RE: EX25.5 Update on Metrolinx Transit Expansion Projects - Second Quarter 2021
Dear Mayor Tory and Member of Executive Committee:
Staff tell you on page 15 of their report that they support the Durham Scarborough BRT.
We are writing to tell you the people of Highland Creek do not support it.
I am writing to you as President of the Highland Creek Community Association. Our Executives asked Mr. Douglas Phillips to study and understand what this project is all about.
Mr. Phillips and his team of volunteers have been working on this since September 2019. They have attended several meetings, read reports, written letters, and tried to work with Metrolinx and get answers from them. Studies have been promised, but nothing completed yet.
Highland Creek is a residential community, with only two small plazas, no high-rises, and no commercial businesses. It has many mature and beautiful trees, and its properties are well maintained.
The team’s conclusion: Metrolinx, aided and abetted by your staff, are bound and determined to push their busway 2.7 kilometers straight down the middle of Ellesmere Road, with raised concrete curbing on both sides, all the way through the Highland Creek Community from Military Trail to Kingston Road, dividing our community in two. This is a dangerous and extremely costly project. It is totally unacceptable. It is not needed and unnecessary.
The Highland Creek CA Executive joined Mr. Phillips and his team’s conclusion: this project must be stopped. The Community put together a door-to-door campaign and contacted every household in Highland Creek asking residents for their comments.
The Community unanimously said: ‘STOP THE DSBRT BUSWAY’.
NO BRT ON ELLESMERE
Mayor and Members: The people who live in Highland Creek do not want your Busway.
They do not want ‘No Left-Hand Turns’ from their homes, their library, their community park, and their local side streets which would all be cut off permanently by the concrete barrier. This plan would highly impede emergency vehicles.
The busway your staff supports brings absolutely zero benefits to the people of Highland Creek:
We have been told that even after you build the busway, the TTC’s York Mills bus will continue to run in the curb lane. We will get to watch Durham buses run down the middle of Ellesmere Road taking
University students to class...MAYBE saving them 60-90 seconds in their daily commute from Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, and Pickering for the two or three years they go to classes.
Mayor and Members:
The Community supports the U of T Scarborough Campus.
There are already several GO/TTC bus services direct to the U of T campus.
Nobody in the right mind will take this proposed BRT from Oshawa through 40 stops to the U of T!
Metrolinx already operates buses from Durham Region along Hwy. 401 to Scarborough Centre and beyond to the Finch Subway Station. Add one more stop at the U of T: use Morningside, problem solved!
• Zero cost.• Zero trees cut down.• Zero private property expropriations.• Zero driveways cut off.• Zero public streets cut off.• No library or park cut off.• AND Durham residents could get service right to the front doors of the Pan-Am Centre much easier/faster/safer than what Metrolinx and your staff support.
Mayor and Members: The message from the people of Highland Creek could not be clearer:
NO BUSWAY THROUGH HIGHLAND CREEK.
David Anderson, President
Highland Creek Community Association
Thursday, February 25, 2021
Letter to Councillors Thompson, Crawford, Mantas, Lai, McKelvie and Ainslie
via email to:
RE: DO WE HAVE A TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT AND IF SO, WHAT ARE THEY DOING FOR US?
Dear Councillors for Scarborough:
There are four huge infrastructure projects all slated to happen in Scarborough at once.
- Eight grade separations, bridges over or tunnels under the Lakeshore and Stouffville GO tracks;
- Nine complete major arterial road intersection rebuilds along Ellesmere between McCowan and Military Trail;
- Four massive ‘cut and cover’ excavations for the Scarborough Subway Extension.
Each one will involve complete road closures, partial road closures, lane restrictions, detours, diversions, bus service delays-rerouting and huge volumes of heavy truck traffic. Most of them will take several years to complete.
The road-rail grade separations and the subway extension are good for Scarborough, no question about it. Not so sure about the Ellesmere Busway.
BUT: each will have dramatic impacts on how Scarborough people and businesses get around this city while these are under construction.
The Stouffville GO Expansion Project:
Metrolinx is double tacking the Stouffville GO tracks through Scarborough so they can operate all day/two-way/frequent train service. Bridges over or tunnels under are proposed to remove level crossings at Passmore, McNicoll, Huntingwood, Progress and Danforth Road. But nor Finch.
The Lakeshore East GO Rail Expansion Project:
Metrolinx is expanding service on the Lakeshore East GO line. Roads that now cross the tracks at level crossing cannot continue to operate with the proposed frequency of trains and electrification. Scarborough Golf Club Road, Galloway and Morningside are all proposed to be grade-separated.
The Scarborough Subway Extension Project:
Metrolinx is building the Scarborough Subway Expansion project from Kennedy to Sheppard-McCowan using ‘cut and cover’ to build stations and ‘special track’ works.
The Ellesmere Busway for Durham/TTC/Go Buses.
Metrolinx plans to widen the paved surface of Ellesmere dramatically from Grangeway to Military Tail to accommodate a centre lane busway. Every signalized intersection will be exploded into a miasma of lanes, loading platforms, bike lanes and U-turns introduced.
You have probably seen plans for each of these projects in various reports. It really gets scary when you put them all together on an air photo of Scarborough.
The eight grade separations and especially the four huge ‘cut and cover’ excavations will take years to complete. Who knows how long it will take to widen-rebuild the 9 Ellesmere intersections?
Cost over-runs, unforeseen construction issues, disputes with contractors, workplace safety issues etc. have been known to lengthen projects like these by years. [Viz. Union Station, the Vaughan Subway and on a smaller scale the water reservoir on Ellesmere east of Nielson.]
When we finally emerge from the COVID emergency our people and businesses are going to run right into these massive interruptions of our road system whether we ride a bus or drive a private vehicle to work, school, the grocery store, music lessons, soccer practice etc.
Often overlooked when our experts think about reducing the capacity of our road system are two very important user groups:
- The bus fleets operated by the Public and Separate School Boards in this city transports over 45,000 students each and every day primarily for students as young as 4 years old, right up to high school students. The great majority are in ‘suburban’ locations like Scarborough;
- Wheel-Trans provides 4.2 million trips a year to its 42,000 customers across this city.
Six of the twenty busiest bus routes in the entire city are located in Scarborough. The Lawrence bus alone carried way over 30,000 people a day in 2014.
Every one of these travellers and a huge portion of our businesses will be delayed by road closures, lane restrictions, detours and heavy construction truck traffic.
Somewhere in the midst of all these disruptions, our SRT will come to its final creaking groaning shuddering halt. There is talk of taking lanes out of Midland and/or Brimley for buses only.
Only four years ago our Mayor and Councillors were all concerned with gridlock.
- Congestion on our roads was estimated to cost our regional economy over $6 billion a year.
- We were reminded that the full cost of congestion is a lot more than just time spent sitting in traffic.
- There is a multitude of logistical, economical, social and health-related effects which arise when people and goods cannot move efficiently.
Our Mayor and Councillors told us:
Traffic is strangling this city and costing us millions in lost productivity. We need to take immediate action to get Toronto moving so people can get to work on time and home to their families sooner.
- Mayor Tory
In order for Toronto to remain competitive and prosperous, it is essential that elected officials and governments partner with stakeholders to develop solutions that will keep people and goods moving efficiently across our city.
- Councillor Kelly
If left unabated, the cost of traffic congestion is estimated to balloon to over $7.8 and $7.2 billion for commuters and the economy respectively. The economic potential being withheld by issues directly related to gridlock is immense.
- Councillor Minnan-Wong
Gridlock, [while] rare here just two decades ago, is now a major inconvenience to residents, a growing constraint on our economy and a significant burden on public safety and our quality of life.
- Councillor Thompson
We could not agree more wholeheartedly with these statements.
Our questions to you are:
1. Who is looking closely at each and every one of these road closures/lane closures/diversions to ensure each is designed to produce the absolute minimum disruption;
2. Who is looking at the timing and sequence of all of these road closures/lane closures/diversions to ensure the absolute minimum disruption;
3. Who is looking at the City’s own program of road resurfacing, water main replacement and so on all of which can close lanes/restrict traffic to minimize disruption and delay;
4. Please, no more grand misguided adventures like taking two lanes out of Brimley for bike lanes until all of these road works and disruptions are completed.
And lastly: who is taking responsibility to build a grade separation of Finch over/under the Stouffville GO tracks? It’s not in the Metrolinx plans. They’re doing Passmore, McNicoll, Huntingwood, Progress and Danforth but not Finch and there’s no way Finch can operate as a level crossing.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
In late May Toronto Council approved taking two lanes out of Brimley Road and handing these over to the bike lobby.
The bike lobby told our Councillor Michael Thompson that we needed bike lanes to get to the grocery store, the drug store, the LCBO and Beer store at Eglinton. They told him we needed to get our exercise by riding our bikes up and down Brimley.
The lanes went in early in July. We’ve had 4 months to see how this is working out. Traffic is only partway back to pre-COVID lockdown ‘normal’ levels. When Brimley is busy we are seeing long lines of traffic forming in the single lane remaining. A single-vehicle stopped to make a left-hand turn into their driveway or their neighbourhood blocks the whole street. Long queues are forming at the traffic signals.
Why should you care?
Here are 8 good reasons why everyone in Glen Andrew should care about the Brimley Bike lanes:
1. Bike lanes on Brimley today are just the start.
This is just a ‘pilot project’ they snuck in when everyone was totally focused on the COVID emergency. The bike lanes won’t stop at Lawrence. The bike lobby wants to extend these all the way to Steeles. And then do it again on Midland Ave.
2. Your friends and neighbours who front onto Brimley Road had their right to park and even just to stop in front of their homes cancelled by City Hall.
There are +\- 200 homes with driveways directly to Brimley between Kingston Road and Lawrence.
Whatever privileges they had to park or even just to stop in front of their homes before the bike lanes went in, they were cancelled overnight. City work crews took down the old signs and put these up:
If your daughter parks in the curb lane, where she’s parked for years to bring over the grandkids, maybe deliver some groceries if you can’t get around, she’ll get whacked with a $150.00 fine.
No-one knows how you get your roof repaired; your furnace replaced or even your lawn care company to come to your home if you live on Brimley. Where do they park?
3. Because practically no-one is using the Brimley bike lanes.
- Even in the really good cycling weather of June, July and August.
- Even when there was practically zero traffic on Brimley during the COVID lockdown.
- Even when the City Hall bike lobby sent out 23,136 full-colour glossy pamphlets to sell their latest scheme.
4. Because cycling is seasonal.
Cycling on the really well-used bike lanes downtown where it makes sense drops off by +\-80 % from November through the end of April.
If there’s almost nobody cycling on Brimley today in great cycling weather, how many people will be pedalling on Brimley in the dark and cold, on snow and ice from November through the end of April?
5. Maybe you have been able to avoid Brimley Road but those are your friends and neighbours stuck waiting in those queues.
- They’re riding the Brimley 21 bus to the subway.
- They’re trying to get to and from their homes right on Brimley and in the neighbourhoods on both sides.
- Those are our children riding school buses to Knob Hill, Hunters Glen and Charles Gordon public schools south of Lawrence and further south to Anson public school;
- They’re waiting for the handicapped access taxi and the WheelTrans van;
- They’re wondering how the service trucks can get to their homes to repair their furnace, fix their roof, or deliver the things they’ve ordered online.
6. Because neither our Councillor Michael Thompson nor the bike lobby at City Hall has answered our question:
How will snowplows, driveway plows, street sweepers and storm drain vacuum trucks do their jobs with bike lanes hogging the curb lane?
7. Because a huge proportion of the vehicles going up and down Brimley every weekday belong to Scarborough businesses.
These companies employ us. They employ our neighbours and kids.
They help us maintain and improve our homes, deliver food to our stores, deliver what we’ve ordered on line.
Here are just a few of the companies whose trucks use Brimley Road every day:
8. Because two years is not “temporary”.
When the bike lobby at City Hall grabbed two lanes out of Brimley for bicycles in July, they put up signs telling us this was ‘temporary’.
They told our Councillors they’ll watch how things go and report to our Councillors “in the fourth quarter of 2021.”
If you know how things work at City Hall, our Councillors won’t get around to these bike lanes until quite likely December 2021. Even if they decided then to remove the bike lanes, it’s not likely to happen until the spring of 2022. 21-24 months of this nonsense spanning two winters is not ‘temporary’.
Make no mistake about it:
- The bike lobby at City Hall, like a thief in the COVID night, grabbed half the capacity of Brimley Road for themselves while we were all busy trying to stay safe.
- They grabbed both sides of Huntingwood: most of the 321 homes with driveways to Huntingwood lost the right to park or even just to stop in front of their homes with no consultation.
- The bike lobby has their sights set on the rest of Brimley… right through Glen Andrew and all the way to Steeles.
- Then they’ll do the same thing to Midland from Kingston Road to Steeles.
Unless you speak up.
Unless Mike Thompson hears from you that this is not acceptable.
Here’s our message to Councillor Thompson:
1. Remove the bike lanes from Brimley Road immediately…before the snow flies:
- Take out the pylons.
- Paint over the markings.
- Put black bags over all the special signs you erected.
2. Consider reopening the bike lanes next summer…June, July and August…AFTER some genuine discussion with all the homeowners who front onto Brimley, the communities on either side and the businesses who depend on Brimley Road.
Tell Michael Thompson you support Glen Andrew’s request.
Call him: 416-397-9274
Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org
Write to him: 100 Queen St W Suite B24, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
For the Glen Andrew Community Association
We have sent the City all sorts of ideas on how to improve safe and attractive cycling using our parks, ravines, trails and hydro fields.