By AMARACHI AMADIKE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
With a number of new high-rise developments being proposed in the Danforth Avenue and Main Street area, residents in the surrounding neighbourhood have expressed concerns about how their daily routines will be affected as a result.
One main area of concern for many residents who attended the last community consultation meeting on the development plans for the area south of Danforth Avenue between Main Street and Dawes Road in March was a potential halt in services at the Main Square Community Centre.
“For me personally the swimming pool has become the focus of my fitness routine. Judging by the number of people also using the pool I am not alone,” said local resident Antony Upward.
Upward, who has been a resident at Woodbine and Gerrard for nearly 30 years, told Beach Metro Community News that the Main Street Community Centre has been a staple in his life and the lives of many other residents in the area over the past few years.
“Critically, developers – enforced by the city – need to ensure that these new communities have the facilities needed for their well-being within walking distance: parks, schools, health centres, affordable places to shop for food and other essentials, and community centres,” he said.
According to City of Toronto officials, the Main Street Community Centre would require further construction as an expansion of the facility is necessary to service the expected influx of residents once the proposed highrises are built.
This has left many worried about a gap in services between the closure of Main Street Community Centre and the introduction of a replacement facility.
However, Beaches East-York Councillor Brad Bradford said that there will be no interruption of services.
“Community centres provide vital opportunities for gathering and recreation,” said Bradford in an email statement to Beach Metro Community News. “City staff are working to maintain access to the existing Main Square Community Centre while also planning for the construction in the medium term of a new replacement community centre serving the neighbourhood.”
In the meantime, Bradford and City of Toronto staff are focused on negotiating a renewal of the current lease for the Main Street Community Centre. These negotiations are aimed at ensuring that there will be no disruptions to programs and facilities utilized by residents in the surrounding neighbourhood.
With the current lease set to expire in December of 2023, Bradford said that staff are “optimistic about reaching an agreement” on a new lease.
“The city’s 2023-2032 Capital Budget and Plan includes funding for the design and construction of the replacement community centre,” said Bradford. “The location of the new centre will be determined in the coming years, informed by a variety of factors including a focus on serving the community using the existing facility.”
Although many will be pleased to hear this regarding the community centre, Upward urged city officials to be wise in their approach to intensifying the neighbourhood.
“The development has to be done right,” said Upward. “It must include a variety of apartment types – single bedroom up to family sized – both for ownership and rental (with a good number at affordable rents).”
Proposals discussed at the March 8 community meeting included towers which will range in height from 15 to 55 storeys at 2575 Danforth Ave. This is expected to provide 1,543 additional residential units to the area.
There will also be 33 and 44 storey mixed-use buildings that will provide 905 residential units at 2681 Danforth Ave., as well as a 38-storey mixed-use building at 8 Dawes Rd. which will consist of 399 dwelling units courtesy of Marlin Spring.
For more on the March 8 community meeting on development plans for the Main and Danforth area, please see our earlier story at https://beachmetro.com/2023/03/10/community-centre-concerns-highlighted-in-consultation-meeting-on-proposed-highrises-in-danforth-and-main-area/
— Amarachi Amadike is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro Community News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.