By Rob Elbertsen

A summary of the current status of the Toronto Rooming House Review was published in the CCRA News and on the CCRA website last month. Residents were advised of an upcoming community meeting about the proposed rooming house pilot, which would be hosted by Ward 44 Councillor Jim Hart in collaboration with the Highland Creek Community Association.

This community meeting took place on Tues., October 10 at the Highland Creek Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. The meeting was well attended by Highland Creek and Centennial residents. Councillor Hart acted as facilitator, and David Adamson of the Highland Creek Community Association provided opening remarks. Subject matter experts from the following institutions and city departments were in attendance: City Planning, City Bylaw Enforcement, Toronto Fire Services and University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC).

Councillor Hart provided an overview of the history of rooming houses in Toronto, and clarified the differences between a rooming house and legal room rentals in Scarborough. He also summarized the proposed rooming house pilot project bylaw. Residents were then invited to offer comments, feedback and suggestions to the experts.

For the duration of the meeting, some residents provided valuable feedback and suggestions to the experts and to Councillor Hart on the matter of the proposed pilot bylaw. Many others voiced negative comments and concerns regarding (illegal) rooming houses currently in the Highland Creek and Centennial communities that veered off the topic of the meeting.

Next steps: Upon conclusion of the meeting, Councillor Hart advised that the proposed rooming house pilot bylaw recommendations to be documented by city staff would not likely be presented to the city’s Executive Committee until November at the earliest. The matter would then be discussed by City Council beginning in December. Councillor Hart committed to advising the Highland Creek and Centennial community associations of the date and location of the Executive Committee meeting where the proposed pilot bylaw is to be brought forward. Residents will have the opportunity to speak to the matter at that meeting. Councillor Hart also committed that he will not vote in favour of the proposed pilot bylaw at City Council unless the bylaw is modified to adequately deal with the major issue of absentee owners/landlords.