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MRA Letter to Chair of Parks and Environment Committee re: Storefront Humber Lease Renewal

Attn: Councillor Michelle Berardinetti
Chair, Parks & Environment Committee
councillor_berardinetti@toronto.ca

Sent: June 4th, 2015

Dear Councillor Berardinetti,

I’m writing to you on behalf of the Mimico Residents Association (MRA) to alert you and the members of your committee to a situation that has been troubling residents and business leaders in Mimico (part of Ward 6) for several years now.

The issue involves the City-owned Parks & Recreation property at 2445 Lake Shore Blvd. West. This building, which sits on prime public waterfront parkland, designated Open Space/Parkland, in the centre of Mimico’s public realm, has been off limits to the local community for more than a generation.

Over the past 42 years, this publicly-owned, waterfront property has been leased out for $1/year to house the administrative offices of the private, not for profit, in-home care provider, Storefront Humber Inc. The services offered by this private corporation cater to “seniors only” and for the most part, take place offsite inside clients’ homes. No one can deny the wonderful work done by Storefront Humber Inc., but a prime, public waterfront location is not necessary for the types of “in-home” services they provide, and the waterfront and adjacent parks play no part their programming. The building is, quite literally, shut off from the surrounding community – an island unto itself in the heart of Mimico.

Yet another key concern is the fact that Storefront Humber Inc.’s “community satisfaction surveys”, used to justify their continued presence in the community, are completed not, as one might expect, by local residents and neighbourhood business owners, but by Storefront Humber Inc.’s own clients, staff and supporters who are brought in from outside the area to complete the surveys.

Demographics in the area have shifted dramatically in recent years towards young families, children and youth, and the need for an all-ages community facility on this site has never been greater. Toronto City Planning is aware of the situation and has identified a more public use for this City-owned building as a key part of the Mimico 20/20 Revitalization Plan for the area.

The current twenty-one year lease agreement between the City and Storefront Humber Inc. expires in May 2016, providing ample time for a comprehensive review of the situation. Unfortunately, our Councillor Mark Grimes, has not responded to our concerns, leading some in our community to conclude that he favours the status quo. We strongly believe that there must be a community based, timely and transparent consultation about this matter. The results should influence the future use and impending lease renewal terms of this City building in Mimico’s waterfront square.

Below are three letters to Councillor Mark Grimes, dating back to May 2013, that have gone unanswered:

Rest assured that our intention is not to force Storefront Humber Inc. out of the building, but rather to work with them and the City to explore options for a community facility that meets the needs of all local residents.

Councillor Berardinetti, our community needs to have this issue addressed and we ask you and the members of your Committee to discuss and examine our concerns, and request that City staff explore options for a more publicly accessible, community oriented and shared-use facility on Mimico’s vital waterfront site.

Many thanks for your kind consideration. We would appreciate a response by June 26th 2015.

Sincerely,

John R. Cary
President, Mimico Residents Association.

CC: Carol Kaustinen, Secretary, Parks & Environment Committee (pec@toronto.ca)
CC: Giuliana Carbone, Deputy City Manager & Acting Director, Parks & Environment Division (gcarbone@toronto.ca)
CC: Janie Romoff, General Manager, Parks, Forestry & Recreation (jromoff@toronto.ca)
CC: Ward 6 Councillor Mark Grimes (councillor_grimes@toronto.ca)
CC: Rosemary MacKenzie, Secretary, Etobicoke York Community Council (etcc@toronto.ca)
CC: Matthew Premru, City Planning, Etobicoke York District (mpremru@toronto.ca)
CC: Kathryn Thom, City Planning, Etobicoke York District (kthom@toronto.ca)
CC: Wayne Duong, City Leasing (wduong@toronto.ca)
CC: Peter Wallace, City Manager, City of Toronto (talktoCityManager@toronto.ca)
CC: Mayor Tory, City of Toronto (mayor_tory@toronto.ca)

 

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