By PAULA FLETCHER
Housing affordability is one of the most pressing issues facing us today so I am pleased to support the proposed Queen Coxwell Revitalization on the current site of the Don Summerville Apartments on Queen Street East.
For a year following the city election, I pushed to ensure that Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) added new affordable housing to their proposed revitalization. The new plan does just that. City staff, TCHC and Context Development have now agreed to a redevelopment plan for the property that would add 100 affordable rental apartments and as well as 180 market rental apartments.
This is in addition to the replacement of 120 rent-geared-to-income apartments at Don Summerville – 1555-1575 Queen St. E. Context Development will also build condos at the western end of the site as well as new retail space on Queen.
Two open houses were held about this project in late November. Context Development will now submit their formal proposal to city planning for review and further community consultations early in the New Year.
Current TCHC tenants will be well supported during this redevelopment and I have been working with TCHC staff and tenants to keep them updated about the revitalization plans.
Tenants will have to relocate to other TCHC properties during construction but will have the right to return to their new home once construction is complete.
In order to ensure that it is not just a “bricks and mortar revitalization” the project also proposes significant benefits for TCHC tenants funded by the developer: a $100,000 TCHC scholarship program, a $250,000 TCHC social development fund and jobs for TCHC tenants with an estimated value of $500,000. The details of these are now being finalized.
Applegrove, our local community centre, has been engaged to involve tenants in the design of their new building which, when completed, will be fully accessible.
At the open houses, it was apparent that there is considerable demand for the new affordable housing and the condos in the neighbourhood. Many residents came by looking to move in.
It will be a great addition to Queen and Coxwell: rebuilt aging TCHC apartments, new affordable housing, new rental housing and new condos. A whole suite of spaces and places for those wanting to stay in our wonderful east end. You can follow the progress at queencoxwellrevitalization.com which will be updated regularly.
It was not easy to get this project turned around so I have added the creation of quality affordable housing locally to the Terms of Reference for two current planning studies – the Danforth Planning Study, and Gerrard and Carlaw.
As well, TCHC will no longer be able to simply replace their own rental housing – each revitalization will have to add new affordable housing. Our current housing crisis demands bold actions with the City of Toronto using every tool we have available.
As always, I look forward to your feedback on this and any other issue. You can always reach me at 416-392-4060 or firstname.lastname@example.org