On April 6, staff at the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) will recommend that the corporation sell 22 single family houses. Seven of those houses (14 units) are located near the lakeshore at the bottom of Hubbard and Wineva. The houses impacted include 2, 4 and 6 Wineva and 3, 5, 7, and 9 Hubbard. All the buildings are duplexes with an upper and lower unit.
Since 2008, staff have been investigating 47 houses owned by TCHC which were identified as needing extensive capital repair costs. In May, 2010, the city council approved a sale of 20 of the houses to Wigwamen, a social service agency which provides affordable housing to aboriginal seniors and families.
Of the 27 houses left, five were put up for sale in February, 2011, when no social agency expressed an interest in acquiring them. A number of agencies did apply to purchase one or more of the 22 remaining houses, but none of the agencies was willing (or able) to pay market value. Staff is now recommending that the houses be sold netting the city between $15 and $13 million which would be used to cover capital costs in existing multi-residential buildings.
Of the 14 units in the Beach, nine are currently empty. According to the report, tenants cannot be compelled to relocate. However, if the purchaser uses the house as a dwelling place for him/herself or family members, the tenant is out of luck.
According to community members, the fear is that the buildings will be acquired by a developer with the idea of replacing the unique Price Brother’s structures with something out of keeping with the community. The location of these houses makes the properties extremely valuable.
In June, 2010, the houses, with a number of other units on Wineva and Hubbard, were added to the city’s list of properties of historical interest. While a listing does not protect a building from being demolished, it does signal that the property has important heritage value and could be added to the list of designated buildings (which would stop demolition).
The first step, said Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, is to “Rally up the troops and get everyone out there.” She said she and her staff will be sending out emails to get people to attend the TCHC Board meeting on April 6.
The meeting will start at 9:30 a.m. at 931 Yonge St. (near the Rosedale Subway Station). Since the board of the TCHC was recently fired by council, former councillor Case Ootes is serving as interim Managing Director.