- The area already has twice the city average for such housing projects; this contravenes not only city regulations and by-laws, which prohibit such concentrations of certain types of housing, but it is also morally objectionable, as such initiatives can be interpreted as "ghetto politics".
- The area has certain safety / crime related issues that have so far been unaddressed, exposing even these vulnerable members of society to an unacceptable level of risk.
- The city does not have enough money to run their existing projects according to existing standards and regulations, which makes it likely that this project will also suffer from neglect.
- There have been persistent allegations of corruption/misuse of campaign money/overspending against the main supporters of this project.
More such issues can be found in the deputations given at the North York city council meeting on July 11 by a few of the many members of the community who attended that meeting to voice their support of our position:
A staff report attempts to explain most of the issues involved: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/2006/agendas/committees/ny/ny060711/it032.pdf (also, mirrorred locally).
Brief chronology of the project:
1. June, 1999 Toronto Police Services declared 1900 Sheppard Ave. W. (formerly 31 Division) surplus. Site is 35,597 square ft. with a single-storey brick building, situated on the north side of Sheppard Ave. W. next to the Jane/Sheppard Mall.
2. All City departments were formally made aware of the availability of this property, allowing them to express any interest. Toronto Public Library, though interested, was unable to pursue the site due to lack of funds to cover the cost of a new library. It was decided that instead of immediate acquisition of the site, the Library Board would put the new Jane/ Sheppard library into their 10-year financial plan.
3. The Shelter, Housing and Support Division took control of the site citing the City’s “Housing First” Policy.
4. Requests for Proposals (RFP) were issued for redevelopment of the housing. Youth Clinical Services, a non-profit agency that provided programs for youth, was awarded the project.
5. Councillor Augimeri requested a Construction Assessment to determine if the existing building could be saved and converted for community use. A November 2002 Report estimated an almost $3 million expenditure to bring the existing building up-to-code.
6. Jane/Sheppard Library Branch is in an undersized (approximately 3,500 sq. ft.) leased space in a corner mall since 1988 and costs approximately $109,000 per year. To date, City expenditures for lease and leasehold improvements total well over $2 million.
7. Councillor Augimeri convinced the Library Board to expand and relocate the Jane/Sheppard Branch to meet local community needs. Councillor Augimeri developed and submitted a business case for relocating the Jane Sheppard Library branch from the leased mall space to a 7,000 sq. ft. space on the 1900 Sheppard site.
8. The Library Board moved this project from its 10-year Capital plan into its 5-year Capital Plan, allocating $1.58 million of the $1.864 million cost of the library component of the site.
9. Youth Clinical Services, in conjunction with Shelter, Housing and Support, initially wanted to construct 8 single-room occupancy units and 8 three-bedroom units of transitional housing in 4 duplexes for homeless youth. Plans were later revised in order to build 49 units in a 4 -storey building plus a townhouse complex.
10. On June 20, 2002, a meeting was held explaining this project to the local community who was overwhelmingly opposed to the addition of a transitional housing project for youth in an area already saturated with public housing.
11. In April, 2004 Youth Clinical Services, was dissolved due to bankruptcy.
12. In September, 2004, Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) was asked to redevelop this site, since a condition of the Federal Grant (SCPI) for the housing project, was to spend this money by May 31, 2006.
13. In May, 2005, the Board of Directors of TCHC received a report from its Building/Finance Committee recommending a change from “transitional housing project for youth” to “woman’s youth transitional housing”, for the scope of the 1900 Sheppard project.
14. On October 27, 2005, TCHC submitted its plans to the City’s Planning Dept. requesting a re-zoning of the site to construct, in co-development with Toronto Public Library Board, a one-story, 7,000 sq. ft. public library and a separate 4-storey 27-housing unit housing project.
15. On May 1, 2006 Councillor Augimeri received a communication from Humewood House introducing its interest at 1900 Sheppard Ave. West. Humewood House assists pregnant and parenting women from 13-21 years of age with housing and support services.
16. At it’s April 23-25 meeting, City Council voted 33-8 to “fast track” the process prescribed by the Planning Act. This action ensures that the final official plan and re-zoning changes for 1900 Sheppard come before the City Council meeting of July 25, 2006. Councillor Augimeri voted against this unusual and unprecedented action, citing issues of the loss of local autonomy and lack of respect for the local community.
17. A Preliminary Planning Report on the re-zoning application for 1900 Sheppard was considered by North York Community Council at its meeting May 9, 2006, at which time Council voted to hold a Community Consultation meeting scheduled for June 1, 2006 at St. Jane Frances Catholic School, 2745 Jane Street.
18. City Council directed the Planning Department to prepare a report for North York Community Council meeting on July 11, 2006 to include:
a services and facilities review of the area; and
the spatial distribution of subsidized (public) housing and supportive housing programs across the City
19. The most recent agreement between the City and the Federal government for the SCPI funding for this project expires on March 31, 2007.
20. July 11, after a long deliberation, the North York city council has voted to recommend that the redevelopment proceeds.
21. On July 28th, City Council held its vote on the redevelopment proposal for 1900 Sheppard Ave. W. Sadly, the outcome is not the one that our community had wanted. Councillor Augimeri's motion to refuse the application for the 27 public housing units for single mothers, failed on a vote of 11 in favour and 26 against.
22. On August 9, 2006, the city clerk has officially issued the "NOTICE OF ADOPTION OF ZONING BY-LAW NO. 624-2006".
23. On August 10, 2006, the city clerk has sent the "Final Report - Application to Amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law - 05 198002 NNY 09 OZ and Application for Site Plan Control Approval - 05 198004 NNY 09 SA (North York Community Council Report 6, Clause 28 Amended and Adopted by City Council on July 25, 26 and 27, 2006.".
24. On August 29, 2006, we filed this appeal with the City Clerk (last page scan). Another appeal was filed by a member in her personal name.