In the Ward: Winchester Park

Last month, I spent an afternoon in the Winchester Park neighborhood, a small area between Cabbagetown and St. James Town. This community, like its neighbours, is a mix of heritage homes, Toronto Community Housing units, and social service providers. My dedicated staff and two members of the Winchester Park Residents’ Association (WPRA) joined me.

One of our stops was Winchester Park, which is being improperly used as an off-leash area by dog owners. After discussing various options, we decided to work with bylaw enforcement who is already visiting the park to educate park visitors. I also encouraged residents to submit their proposal for the discussion on the off-leash park to Toronto Centre Projects.

WPRA also voiced concerns about the bike lanes on Ontario Street south of Winchester Street. While they understand the good intentions behind the initiative, they believe it hasn’t been effectively implemented, with the bike lane awkwardly weaving between parked cars. My office has since been in touch with Transportation Services to do a site visit with residents and discuss improvements.

Residents are also worried about the future of the Wellesley Street East rooming houses east of Rose Avenue. Dixon Hall is working with the City, Toronto Community Housing, and the Infrastructure Institute at the University of Toronto to develop a plan for the site betwee 265 to 277 Wellesley Street East. These houses are complex due to their heritage designation and extensive damage. They will likely need to be rebuilt rather than repaired one by one. Preliminary cost estimates are between $1.6 million and $2 million per building. I have met with Dixon Hall and suggested them to work with the Housing Secretariat to explore all funding options.

Residents also raised concerns about the houses at 502, 504, 506 and 508 Parliament Street. I have informed them that, unfortunately,  a sewage issue discovered during the final stages of construction has delayed completion. However, Dixon Hall estimates they will be done by the end of this year. 

There is good news for the house at 41 Rose Avenue. It is ready for occupancy, and Dixon Hall is discussing how to transfer residents into this building. Given the high anticipation, I suggested to City staff to organize an open house so residents and partners can see the house before occupancy.

Thank you both WPRA Members Heather Wilberforce and Sherwood Flemming for taking the time out of your busy schedules to join me on the neighborhood walk. Your presence and insights were invaluable during our discussions. My team and I are eager to continue working closely with you on the issues that were raised during our walk. Your commitment to our community is commendable, and we look forward to collaborating with you further. Once again, thank you for your dedication and contribution to our neighbourhood.

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