I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable summer. I want to thank the residents who dropped in or contacted my office to say hello and share their thoughts on our great community. I look forward to meeting with many more of you in the months ahead. In the meantime, I would like to update you on some issues coming forward this fall.
Multi-Tenant (Rooming) House Review
Rooming houses have been in the City of Toronto for decades but were first subject to a licensing regime in 1974 following the winter of 1973-1974 when 20 people died in fires in rooming houses.
While rooming houses have never been legal in Scarborough, we do permit basement apartments and two (2) boarders within living quarters. So you may have an owner-occupied home on your street with several students renting space, which is perfectly legal.
The amalgamated City of Toronto passed its new zoning by-law on May 9, 2013, but it did not include city-wide zoning for rooming houses. That portion of the by-law was left for a later decision given the level of concern in particular in Scarborough and North York.
A Rooming House Review commenced in 2014 to harmonize the by-law city wide. Through community consultation, Scarborough residents overwhelmingly opposed legalization of rooming houses.
On October 26, 2016, a report was tabled at the Executive Committee of City Council entitled “Proposed Regulatory and Licensing Strategy for Multi-tenant Houses and Consultation Plan”. It recommended initiating a pilot program in 5 areas of the city with high concentrations of rooming houses. One of those pilot areas is Highland Creek, bounded by Morrish Rd. on the east, 401 to the north and Military Trail from Highway 2A to Morningside Ave. Staff were directed to conduct further consultation with the public and report back to Council. We anticipate this report will be before City Council in November or December of this year.
Given that this report is imminent and the level of community concern respecting the issue, I am convening a community meeting to receive an update from City staff and to hear from you.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
6:30 pm – 9:00 pm (Presentation begins at 7:00 pm)
Royal Canadian Legion, Highland Creek Branch
45 Lawson Road
Affordable housing is a growing issue in Toronto given rapidly rising housing prices and rents. Additionally, there is insufficient on-campus housing for a rapidly growing student population. Consequently. there is no question that the Highland Creek Community will continue to have student housing pressures unless much more housing is built on-campus or affordable housing is built in the community.
The challenge for our community is those homes where the owner is absent and disengaged from any responsibility of being a good neighbour and where the property is not being maintained to our community standards.
Existing by-laws address some issues with rooming houses but do not address things like basic garden maintenance, where gardens are left unattended and spoil the streetscape.
As long as rooming houses affect the fibre of our community and impact the natural beauty of our ward, I will not vote in favour. I encourage you to come out to our October 10th meeting and share your concerns with me and city staff.
Scarborough Waterfront Project
In July the Scarborough Waterfront Project went to the Toronto Region Conservation Authority where it received endorsement of the Refined Preferred Alternative. It was approved to proceed to City Council for approval to submit the final Environmental Assessment (EA) Report to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
Prior to submission of the Final EA, TRCA will go to the City of Toronto Executive Committee and then City of Toronto Council to seek approval to submit the Final EA to MOECC for formal government review. Please visit the website for updates at: trca.ca/swp
I would like to thank the TRCA staff and community stakeholder members for their dedication and hard work on this project. I believe the chosen preferred alternative takes into consideration the environmental concerns that were raised and allows for greater access for all. The final result will be an amazing waterfront we can all be proud of.
If you have any questions or municipal concerns, please contact my office at 416.392.1373 by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by dropping in at the constituency office located in the Centennial Plaza at Port Union Rd and Lawrence Ave.
Don’t forget to visit my website, jimhart.ca for community updates and information on upcoming meetings and events.