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TPS presentation slide, Oct. 10, 2017

Where is the best spot for a police station? Did you know Division 54 & 55 are amalgamating and looking for a new site. We first blogged about this last month.

One of the shortlisted sites is the TTC Barns at Coxwell and Danforth – a massive five acre site that, if put to the right use, has the potential to transform our neighbourhood. Can we unlock the potential of this site with a police station?

The selection process for the new station is happening very fast with a decision expected to be made next month.

Last week, DECA and other community groups, including the Danforth Mosaic BIA, formally requested a delay in the process, citing the need for more public information.

To be clear, this isn’t about NIMBYism. We aren’t saying no station here. We’re asking what is possible for that site, with or without a station. More than anything right now, we want more information and time.

What we know

Toronto Police Services (TPS) and the City of Toronto began the site selection community consultations in October, presenting the top three sites: the Danforth Coxwell TTC Barns, the East York Civic Centre and the current 55 Division at Dundas and Coxwell.

DECA’s Visioning Committee, DECA Board members and many neighbours attended the packed meetings. Although TPS had been planning to build a new police station since 2014, the public wasn’t invited into the site selection process until October 2017. TPS plans to present the selected site to the City’s Executive Committee on November 29 and then go to City Council on December 6th (to seek further study of the selected site).

[You can read more about the site selection process in this Beach Metro article by Stephen Wickens (who has been a driving force behind DECA’s Visioning Committee for years) – the article also sheds light on another possible site!

What we’ve asked

Because of the impact a new police station could have on our community, DECA and others have requested a further public meeting to get answers to these questions:

Questions in regards to Coxwell TTC Barns site:

  1. We are concerned about the security design criteria and setbacks required by TPS, even if some recent stations include some aesthetically pleasing design. Specifically how might the police station fit onto the site? Is TPS willing to compromise on security criteria in order to truly integrate with and contribute to a vibrant mixed-use hub? Can the TPS facility fit within close proximity as part of an urban-style cluster of mid-rise, mixed use buildings?
  2. With neighbourhood concerns about traffic and noise, will serious traffic studies be done prior to final site alternatives be conducted for the entire TTC property? Would such a fit-test endeavour to include all potential uses: TPS, the TTC’s existing and potential uses (TTC needs space for various front and back-office functions and is considering a museum)? What other city office-space needs might be served? Would new building offer opportunities for an expanded or relocated library, public open space, public indoor space, Tobias House upgrades, heritage structure programming.
  3. Will the concept of Complete Streets with retail and even residential components be considered in the site planning process?
  4. If a police division is located on the Coxwell TTC site, how might it prevent/inhibit other community/cultural uses? (Such as those listed as things the community needs below). We request clarification on what percentage of the Coxwell TTC site the TPS would occupy, if this site is chosen. How much space would be available for other uses?
  5. How is the heritage status to be preserved if this site if chosen?
  6. How will the parking be accommodated? Will the community have any assurance that the parking will be underground? The current walled-off surface parking lot is seriously street-deadening.
  7. There has been a lack of community engagement and involvement in the site selection, followed by a rushed process taking place under a sudden deadline. To what extent will the community be involved in the design of the station and the selection of the community and cultural uses that could be attracted to occupy other parts of the site?
  8. The process to date has included little or no information on the impact that a police station on this site might have on rest of land and its immediate surroundings. This includes concerns over the Heritage Status as well as the loss of potential uses for this site (cultural, community, retail etc.) which may not be deemed a good fit to cohabit with a police station. Does the TPS, city real estate and city planning have partners in mind for the site and, if yes, who are they?

Community needs in regards to Coxwell TTC Barns site:

  1. The two police divisions extend from the Don River to Victoria Park yet only two public consultations were held at EYCC and further south, nearer the Dundas police station, perhaps because there are no large meeting spaces centrally located on the subway, near Danforth. Such a space would be essential to a mixed-use hub at the Danforth, as would outdoor public space + community recreation facilities and cultural uses. The area also needs functions that bring people to the area and its shops and restaurants from other parts of the city each day. It could be office space for all three levels of government or an educational institution (a police college?). Daycare, healthcare and a library that are all part of mixed-use buildings present real opportunity. Some residential, including apartments geared to seniors, might be a great part of the mix.
  1. The community and BIA have worked hard over the past five years to improve our commercial strip along Danforth East and create a vibrant street. This section of Danforth is lacking a pedestrian-friendly and welcoming retail strip, while the street frontages of the TTC site create blocks that are too long and impenetrable. Plans to redevelop the Coxwell TTC Barns should focus on economic development and the creation of pedestrian-friendly blocks. [Note: See work of Ryerson Architecture students “Danforth East Streetcar Yards” and Top Ten Ideas for the Danforth, by Paul Bedford’s Students presented at Imagine the Danforth, hosted by DECA in 2015.]
  1. We believe it’s important to work with the mid-rise guidelines created by city planning and approved by city council to develop this nearly five-acre site. They are essential elements of the ongoing Danforth Avenue Planning Study and cannot be ignored for any site, let alone such a key and potentially catalytic site. This has to be a primary focus, no matter what the TPS security concerns.

What can you do?

We have more influence the more members we have. If you haven’t joined DECA as a member, join now for $10/household annually: http://deca.to/membership/

The Toronto Police Service material provided these contacts for this process:

Toronto Police Service, Enrico Pera, Manager, Facilities Management, 416-808-7951, enrico.pera@torontopolice.on.ca

Real Estate Services, Nick Simos, Manager Development & Portfolio Planning, 416-392-7223, nick.simos@toronto.ca

City Planning, Paul Mulé, Senior Planner Community Planning, 416-392-1306, paul.mule@toronto.ca

You may also contact your City Councillor to ask your own questions and seek more information.

We will keep you posted as we learn more!

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Thanks to DECA Visioning Committee for this blog post!

You probably received a notice with your mail recently about public meetings the city and Toronto Police Service are holding on the next two Tuesday evenings regarding plans for a new local police station. (TPS plans to amalgamate its 54 and 55 Divisions under one roof.)

The discussion is particularly important for us because one of the three short-listed sites is the nearly five-acre TTC property at Danforth and Coxwell.

Danforth East TTC Barns at Coxwell. Photo credit Google Maps.

The Danforth East Community Association was formed a decade ago with a goal of making our area’s main street more vibrant, walkable and safe; to succeed we need to continually attract more people to the Danforth sidewalks for different reasons at different time of the day. World-renowned urbanist Jane Jacobs (who died in 2006) identified that TTC site as one of only two in the DECA area with significant potential for creating the type of multi-use hub that the community will need for revitalization.

While DECA has not taken a position, our Visioning Committee and some members are concerned — especially in an era when police stations tend to be walled, big-box fortresses — that this may not be an appropriate use for such a rare and valuable site on our main street.

The other two locations on the short list are East York Civic Centre and the current 55 Division at Dundas and Coxwell.

The two meetings are slated for:
– Tuesday, October 10 (6:30 to 9 p.m.) at East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell;
– Tuesday, October 17 (6:45 to to 9:15 p.m.) at SH Armstrong Community Centre, 56 Woodfield Rd.

To learn more about the community consultations and plans for a new site for these police stations, go to: https://www.torontopolice.on.ca/TheWayForward/new-54-55-building.php

Looking back at “Imagine the Danforth” 
The images below are renderings of possibilities for the TTC site, created by students, that were presented during Imagine the Danforth in May 2015. The meeting was hosted by DECA and featured the top 10 ideas for Danforth East developed by students at Ryerson and U of T.

Imagined sketch for new use of Danforth East TTC Barns by Ryerson Students, Nov. 2014

Imagined site plan for new uses of Danforth East TTC Barns by Ryerson Students, Nov. 2014

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Looking for a great way to cap off the school year? Head to the farmers’ market this Thursday.  Shop, eat and relax on the grassy hill of East Lynn Park.

What can you expect this week?  There will be wine from both Coyote’s Run and Broken Stone Wineries.  School Grown has been tweeting up a storm about their scapes and 100 lbs of lettuce that they harvested just yesterday.  And if you’re like me and didn’t know what a scape was, let alone how to cook with it, check out this link for some ideas.

There will also be lots of ready made food options, like loaded baked potatoes from the Borough.  And just in time for Canada Day, Fa Real Custom Tees will be selling some of their custom made East York Tee’s.

school grown

A student from School Grown showing off her scapes.

Also important to know about this week: There is NO FACE PAINTING. However, Kelly and the gang from Face-to-Face Games will have games galore to entertain and stimulate brains young and old.  Toronto Public Library will have story-time and a craft activity starting at 4:30 p.m.

And don’t forget, there is a community safety walk starting at 7:00 p.m. with members of the Toronto Police Service. The group will meet at the top of the hill by the water fountain and walk east along Danforth Avenue to Main Street.

Wellness Booth 

Dancing for fun, happiness and joy!  Come and learn how dancing not only is a fun way to exercise but it has additional benefits like; reducing stress, improving strength and flexibility, keeping our muscles and joints healthy, improving posture and balance. Not only that but people participating in dance, learning sequences, mastering new skills helps with brain development, makes us smarter and can lift our mood and make us Happy!

Pegasus Studios will be at the Farmer’s Market Wellness Table to give you information, tips and maybe even get you moving!

image04

Pegasus dancers in a flash mob.

The East Lynn Farmers’ Market runs every Thursday from 3-7:00 p.m. between June 4 – October 15 at East Lynn Park, located on the south side of Danforth Ave, just west of Woodbine Ave. Stay up to date by visiting the East Lynn Market Facebook page or by following us on Twitter.

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Community Safety Walks

DECA and the Toronto Police Service (TPS) have been working together to plan two community safety walks along Danforth East. We’ll have representation from 55 Division (East and West walk) and 54 Division (West walk). By walking through the community, you’ll have the opportunity to voice your concerns, as well as hear advice from the TPS representatives on how to make our community safer.

Suggestions, please!

Please send us your suggestions for topics the TPS should cover on these walks. Leave a comment on this post, on our Facebook page, Twitter (#DECASafety), or send us an email at safety@deca.to (and BTW, did you notice our brand new and much, much shorter website address? DECA.to).

Walk Details

Meet up at the north end of East Lynn park beside the park sign. Feel free to join either walk (or both). We’ll do our best to do some live tweeting of the walks too, for those who can’t make it.

·         West Walk: Tuesday June 23rd 7:00-8:30ish, East Lynn to Monarch park

·         East Walk: Thursday June 25th 7:00-8:30ish, East Lynn to Main

 

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Here’s a quick safety notice from 54 Division to be aware of:

Residents should be aware that there is a suspicious female conducting doorknocks in the East York community in the area bounded by Danforth/Mortimer Ave and Coxwell/Woodbine Ave.  The incident occurred in the following manner;The female knocked on the resident’s door during the daytime hours.  When the resident answered the door, the female asked for a glass of water.  When the resident returned with the water, the female had partially opened the resident’s door and was seen peering inside the home.  The female is described as a female with olive skin, possibly Eastern European descent, slim build, 5’7″-5’8″ tall, dark black hair and dark eyes, one gold tooth (molar) wearing a long black dress.Residents are advised not to open the door to strangers and to report suspicious activities/persons by calling the Toronto Police Service non-emergency number at 416 808-2222.

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Are you a Graphic Designer?

The Pop-Up shop team is looking for some help with design work.  They’re a fun group.  And they’re helping to make our stretch of the Danforth more vibrant!  If you have design skills to contribute please email the team.

Safety Warning from 54 Division

There have been a number of break-ins into homes in the Parkview Hills community.  These break-ins have been occurring in homes that are under construction and have been taking place in the overnight hours.  Residents are advised to be alert to any strange acitivity in their community.  Power tools have been targeted in these particular break-ins and residents with homes under construction are reminded not to store power tools in their unoccupied homes.  All tools should be engraved identifying them as belonging to the owner, using an identifiable mark such as the driver’s licence number.

East End Hootenanny

earl_haig_Hoot

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Safety in our Neighbourhood – What can YOU do?

As DECA has evolved, we have taken our little group of neighbours and done some pretty amazing things.  In the meantime, some of our bread-and-butter activities have become defunct, and we need your help to get back on track.

We used to have a person or group of people whose focus was safety.  Some of the functions might include: connecting with the police to get updates when things happen, doing safety walks around the community, organizing self-defence classes, or [insert your great safety idea here].  If you are interested in helping us out, please send us an email.  There is lots of room for creativity, so if you have ideas or just genuine concern, we would really love to hear from you.

Update on 54 Division

This Thursday, April 25, 2013 the Toronto Police Services Board will have a public meeting at its Headquarters at 40 College Street, starting at 1:30 p.m. and 54 Division is on the agenda. (Click here to see for yourself – item #29)  Although this is my first time trying to read a Toronto Police Services Board agenda, it appears that this Thursday, the Board will consider this recommendation:

  • The Chief of Police prepare a report for the Board’s May 22, 2013 public meeting setting out the details of the CIOR project assessing whether to close 13 and 54 Divisions as well as setting out a proposed community consultation process for the Board’s consideration

(The recommendation is in response to a City Council motion)

For more information, see the letter below that we got from the Friends of 54 Division.

CCF19042013_00002If you need a refresher on what the options are for 54 Division, see our past post.

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