A community centre or hospice are some ideas being floated for the 55 Division police station on Coxwell and Dundas once Toronto Police Services moves into the TTC garage site opposite Coxwell subway station.
Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon, who represents Ward 32, the ward in which both sites are located, has said more than one group has voiced interest in the old cop shop at 101 Coxwell Ave.
“It’s a key site, I’ll say, and it’s accessible and close to many things,” McMahon said.
The councillor said she has been in talks with Applegrove, which is based at Duke of Connaught Junior and Senior Public School and offers community programming, and a palliative care group interested in establishing a standalone hospice in the area.
“Other people have talked about affordable housing,” McMahon added. She explained that she is “happy to entertain different ideas, and we’ll go from there—but it’s early days still.”
At the turn of the month, Toronto city council approved plans to create a new police station for an amalgamated 54 and 55 Division at the TTC’s Danforth Garage at 1627 Danforth Ave. while also setting aside space for future community uses.
The decision was the culmination of a months-long community consultation process that presented two other main options for an amalgamated station.
The East York Civic Centre at 850 Coxwell Ave. and 101 Coxwell Ave., the current home of 55 Division which is in need of renovations, were the two other finalists TPS and Toronto Real Estate Services selected from a list of hundreds.
Applegrove Community Complex Executive Director Susan Fletcher confirmed the organization’s early interest in 55 Division once police move into new digs.
“Applegrove’s strategic initiative committee is looking at options that might be possible for that site,” she said.
Fletcher said the present Applegrove site presents accessibility issues for seniors and people with strollers in tow and doesn’t have room for a real meeting space.
If the existing station were torn down, Fletcher also suggested there could be room to build affordable housing units on top of space for Applegrove.
“Certainly there’s a terrible need for affordable housing across the city and in this area as well,” she said.
Before the 55 Division property can be considered for other uses, Toronto Police Services must be relocated and the lot needs to be declared surplus land for municipal uses.
CreateTO, a new city agency taking on projects previously handled by BuildTO and the Toronto Port Lands Company, and city staff will analyze the site to determine its future, which could include listing it for sale.
“If it is recommended to be surplus land – for specific municipal uses – there is a standard practice the city uses. The city reaches out to all city divisions, agencies and corporations, as well as local councillors, to determine any municipal interest in retaining the property,” read a statement forwarded by CreateTO spokesperson Natalie Pastuszak.
Applegrove’s Fletcher noted if the 55 Division site becomes a community centre it wouldn’t be the first example of such a scenario.
Community Centre 55 is located in a former police station at 97 Main St. “We could just keep that tradition, and old police stations become community centres,” Fletcher said.