Letters to the Editor: Affordable housing plan for Macey Hill will take away community green space

The City of Toronto is proposing a 56-unit Modular Housing Initiative building for land it owns at 11 Macey Ave., northeast of Victoria Park and Danforth avenues.

Re: ‘Stable, affordable housing sought at Macey Ave. site,’ Beach Metro News, June 9.

The Macey Hill: Should it be community building green space, or public housing?

The hill has sentimental value for me, as I spent a number of winters sliding down the hill with my daughter when she was very young. And I love seeing other children do that in winter from time to time. It’s always been a convenient short-cut to get to and from the subway, and now I frequently walk through it with our dogs.

In this densely packed part of the city any green space is welcome. I know our previous city councillor Michelle Holland committed to keeping it as green space. The massive proposed development involving assisted housing at 777 Victoria Park Ave will add even more density without compensating green space.

The hill could be used by kids in the summer as well if Parks and Recreation would do something creative like put a long slide there, or a zip-line. And perhaps a splash pad could be added. There used to be a pool on the other side of Macey, but no more. It’s sad how so many kids spend most of their time indoors in front of a screen nowadays, rather than playing outside.

The neighbourhood was also hoping to create community gardens on the hill, and presented a petition to the city calling for this. Nothing can build up a community like community gardening. But the city turned its back to this proposal.

In this era of COVID-19, food security has become a pressing issue. Shopping at the grocery store has been a challenge, and while public health measures have limited the spread, a more virulent form of the virus could make this an even greater challenge. Food supply chains can be affected as well. Border restrictions and virus outbreaks among migrant workers demonstrate potential problems.

So the hill had great potential to be a community builder. It still has if our politicians can be persuaded to reconsider the location of this housing proposal. But this will require a massive amount of lobbying as I fear the planners and developers are already too invested in the project to be swayed by public sentiment.

“What makes this area unique and special is the reason I moved here, aside from the people, is the wonderful Scarborough Bluffs, the green-space, the parks, the parkettes …” -Gary Crawford 2018

Are these now empty words, or do they only apply to the current councillor’s immediate neighbourhood?

Eric Stark

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