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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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The leaves are changing, the furnaces are on but that doesn’t mean that we need to stay home and hibernate. Here are some upcoming events and opportunities that should keep us out and about (even if we might need a coat).

Happy 100th Anniversary To Gledhill!

Did you or someone you know attend Gledhill Junior Public School? Do you live nearby and have always wondered what goes on in there? Do you have kids who might go to Gledhill someday and you want to check it out? No matter how you may be connect, the whole community is invited to come out and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Gledhill on Saturday, October 14th from 1-3pm.


Happy 2nd Birthday to Press

Press.books.coffee.vinyl is celebrating two years at 2442 Danforth Ave with a weekend-long party on Saturday and Sunday (Oct 14 & 15) with discounts, deals and live music! Follow their Facebook page for updates but as of right now, here is the rundown of what is planned:

25% off all new and used vinyl records, used book sale, $1 brewed coffee, $2 lattes and capps. Plus live music all through the weekend!

✨✨✨Press ALL-STARS✨✨✨

Saturday

C a r m e n T o t h @ 1pm

S a m T a y l o r a n d t h e E a s t En d L o v e @ 3pm

Sunday 

B r i a n P a s s m o r e C r e e p e r I n d i e F o l k R o c k @ 12pm

L i a S c o t t @1pm

M i c h a e l V i l l a m o r @ 2pm

R e b e c c a M a d a m b a a n d t h e. M y s t e r y G u e s t s @ 3pm

M a r i a R a m i o s @4pm


Pumpkin Parade Postering

It’s the most magical time of the year – the annual DECA Pumpkin Parade at East Lynn Park! Can you help us get the word out about this wonderful event by putting up some posters around the neighbourhood? This is a great way to:

  • get some exercise
  • give you a guaranteed sense of accomplishment with minimal output
  • allow you to finally have some time to yourself
  • help out your trusty neighbourhood association, and
  • generally make you feel like you are a really good person – which you clearly are.

Here is a teeny tiny version of our poster to fill you with excitement about the event because it is always a truly magical evening!

Now that you are burning with desire to help, send an email to Amanda, our volunteer coordinator (who is also a volunteer, because we all are!) and she will get you started.

Spoiler alert: we will also need people on the night of November 1 to help toss the pumpkins into giant bins following the event, so if you want to do that, let Amanda know!


Little Robot Friends Coding Class

Did you know that there’s a little business called Little Robot Friends at 1832 Danforth? Well, now you know and just in time to register for their 4-week coding club for kids aged 9 and up. Details can be found here:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/little-robot-friends-4-week-coding-club-for-beginners-tickets-38359519355

What are little robot friends?

They’re cute robot characters that inspire kids to get creative with technology. These robots are packed with smarts, sensors, and big personalities. You can program them to make expressions, sing songs, perform tricks, and play games. It’s all about learning to code in a fun and engaging way with friends!

About the coding club

They will help participants build their 21st-century skills with an introduction to visual coding using our LRF Blocks App. They’ll also learn fundamental coding concepts through tons of hands-on and collaborative activities. By the end of the course level up with real-world programming in Arduino (C & C++). Gain the core knowledge and skills to tackle independent coding projects with your Little Robot Friend!

Cost: $150 for four weeks on Saturday mornings from 10am-noon, beginning October 21st.


Police Station Consultations

Don’t forget about the consultation meeting being held Tuesday, October 17 (6:45 to to 9:15 p.m.) at SH Armstrong Community Centre, 56 Woodfield Rd about where to put the new police station. One of the three options is at Coxwell & Danforth! Here is our previous blog post for more information.


Second Annual Danforth East Short Film Festival – October 21

Buy tickets for $15 at: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/danforth-east-short-film-festival-tickets-37461220519?aff=es2


Repair Cafe – November 4

It’s advanced notice but you may want to start setting aside things you want to bring in for this Free repair cafe!

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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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Mark your calendars! The second public meeting for the city’s Danforth Avenue Planning Study happens Thursday, February 23rd, 7 p.m. at the Danforth Mennonite Church (north side of Danforth, a block east of Woodbine). DECA’s Visioning Committee, which has for the past three years been advocating and preparing for this study — with help from planners, architects, academics and a community members from many walks of life – urges that you attend this public consultation.

The Avenue Study (Phase 1 from Victoria Park to Coxwell avenues) presents a once-in-50-years opportunity for getting the east end’s main commercial street back on track toward being a lively, safe, vibrant and economically healthy destination.

danforth-avenue-planning-study-ccm-2-meeting-notice-1

Many of you will have received this notice in the mail. The purpose of this second community meeting is to introduce the Danforth Avenue Planning Study – Area Profile Report, review and obtain feedback on a draft vision statement and work done to date, and provide an update on key deliverables and study timelines.

DECA’s Visioning Committee developed these five priorities heading into the Danforth Study. What are your future hopes and dreams for the Danforth over the next 50 years? These two photographs show Danforth Ave. looking east from East Lynn Park in 1960 (over 50 years ago), compared to today.

archives-series372-s0372_ss0100_it0282danfortheastlynn2017

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Danforth Avenue Planning Study – Community Meeting #1, June 27 from 7-9pm

The first public meeting for the city’s Danforth Avenue Planning Study happens Monday, June 27, 7 p.m. at Hope United Church (at Main, northwest corner). DECA’s Visioning Committee, which has for the past three years been advocating and preparing for this study — with help from planners, architects, academics and a community members from many walks of life – urges that you attend this public consultation. 

The Avenue Study (Phase 1 from Victoria Park to Coxwell avenues) presents a once-in-50-years opportunity for getting the east end’s main commercial street back on track toward being a lively, safe, vibrant and economically healthy destination. 

Danforth Avenue Planning Study - CCM #1 - Meeting Notice

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