On July 6, we hosted our third annual Strawberry Social at Winchester Square Park. It was well attended by neighbours and friends. Volunteers had a good time chatting, cutting and serving the delicious strawberry shortcakes. We also raised over $200 for St. Michael's Home - a well established Cabbagetown organization to rehab people with substance and/or alcohol abuse.
We conducted a survey to change the section of Winchester Park on Bleecker Street to a different name for safety reasons. It is separated from the main Winchester Park on Ontario Street by the co-op buildings. Emergency crews could lose precious minutes if they went to the wrong section of the park. The survey result supported the new name Bleecker Parkette. A name change application was submitted and Councillor Wong-Tam office agreed to pay the fee from her budget. We expect the new name will be set up in mid-2020.
The repaving of sidewalk on Ontario Street south of Wellesley Street is not progressing as fast as we would like. It is now slated to get done in 2020 (if no further delay) when the water main work is being done.
Most of the rooming houses are emptied of tenants and are in the process of being renovated to bring them up to safety standard.
We are pleased our efforts compelled the City to confront criminal, predatory, and illegal activity in the rooming houses and as a result of the Mayor's Task Force, City Council and the work of Tenants First, the TCHC rooming houses will be transferred to non-profits for long-term use. We anticipate this transition to be realized over the next 2 to 3 years.
In the mean time, Dixon Hall has been contracted to provide social support to the tenants to ensure they have the support that they need.
With our constant spotlight on these rooming houses, TCHC has decided to renovate and upgrade some of these houses. Notices have been given to tenants that they will be temporary relocated while renovation work is in progress. Notices have been given to 504-508 Parliament, 273, 275, 277 Wellesley St E.
After lengthy delay, the Winchester Street property's tenants are all relocated and it will be ready for the next step for the Margaret's House conversion.
On July 7, we hosted our second annual Strawberry Social at Winchester Square Park. Many people enjoyed a piece of cake with fresh strawberry and whipped cream. Neighbours lingered and chatted with each other. Kids enjoyed themselves eating cakes and playing in the park. A very successful day.
We have worked with the Community Response Unit at 51 Division for removal of predatory criminal elements from rooming houses.
We informed TCHC that the gas stoves in the 504-508 Parliament Street rooming houses is a fire hazard as the drug users were using the stove to cook their drug and occasionally leave the gas stove on unattended. We advocated safer electric stoves be installed.
We had 2 tenants and the president of WPRA attended a deputation at City Hall to the Mayor and City Council on the plight of rooming house tenants. Their message was sent loud and clear with the Mayor allowed them extra time to complete their message.
We hosted our first Strawberry Social event on July 1 to celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday by giving away 150 servings of Strawberry Shortcake with Whipped Cream. It was a great success and a yummy event for all.
We sponsored a clinic for rooming house tenants for dental care.
We collaborated with TCHC and Toronto Police to highlight the drug activities in the Winchester Street rooming houses to identify the drug dealers and the problems they were causing to other tenants and surrounding neighbourhood. Our efforts were successful to help evict the drug dealers from the property.
We supported the initiative of TCHC and the City to transfer the ownership of the Winchester Street property to Margaret's House for women with mental health issues.
We were successful in shutting down the Air B&B party houses on Bleeker Street when the tenants were interfering with enjoyment of other residents on the street.