Police station relocation: what we know and what we’re trying to find out

TPS presentation slide, Oct. 10, 2017

Where is the best spot for a police station? Did you know Division 54 & 55 are amalgamating and looking for a new site. We first blogged about this last month.

One of the shortlisted sites is the TTC Barns at Coxwell and Danforth – a massive five acre site that, if put to the right use, has the potential to transform our neighbourhood. Can we unlock the potential of this site with a police station?

The selection process for the new station is happening very fast with a decision expected to be made next month.

Last week, DECA and other community groups, including the Danforth Mosaic BIA, formally requested a delay in the process, citing the need for more public information.

To be clear, this isn’t about NIMBYism. We aren’t saying no station here. We’re asking what is possible for that site, with or without a station. More than anything right now, we want more information and time.

What we know

Toronto Police Services (TPS) and the City of Toronto began the site selection community consultations in October, presenting the top three sites: the Danforth Coxwell TTC Barns, the East York Civic Centre and the current 55 Division at Dundas and Coxwell.

DECA’s Visioning Committee, DECA Board members and many neighbours attended the packed meetings. Although TPS had been planning to build a new police station since 2014, the public wasn’t invited into the site selection process until October 2017. TPS plans to present the selected site to the City’s Executive Committee on November 29 and then go to City Council on December 6th (to seek further study of the selected site).

[You can read more about the site selection process in this Beach Metro article by Stephen Wickens (who has been a driving force behind DECA’s Visioning Committee for years) – the article also sheds light on another possible site!

What we’ve asked

Because of the impact a new police station could have on our community, DECA and others have requested a further public meeting to get answers to these questions:

Questions in regards to Coxwell TTC Barns site:

  1. We are concerned about the security design criteria and setbacks required by TPS, even if some recent stations include some aesthetically pleasing design. Specifically how might the police station fit onto the site? Is TPS willing to compromise on security criteria in order to truly integrate with and contribute to a vibrant mixed-use hub? Can the TPS facility fit within close proximity as part of an urban-style cluster of mid-rise, mixed use buildings?
  2. With neighbourhood concerns about traffic and noise, will serious traffic studies be done prior to final site alternatives be conducted for the entire TTC property? Would such a fit-test endeavour to include all potential uses: TPS, the TTC’s existing and potential uses (TTC needs space for various front and back-office functions and is considering a museum)? What other city office-space needs might be served? Would new building offer opportunities for an expanded or relocated library, public open space, public indoor space, Tobias House upgrades, heritage structure programming.
  3. Will the concept of Complete Streets with retail and even residential components be considered in the site planning process?
  4. If a police division is located on the Coxwell TTC site, how might it prevent/inhibit other community/cultural uses? (Such as those listed as things the community needs below). We request clarification on what percentage of the Coxwell TTC site the TPS would occupy, if this site is chosen. How much space would be available for other uses?
  5. How is the heritage status to be preserved if this site if chosen?
  6. How will the parking be accommodated? Will the community have any assurance that the parking will be underground? The current walled-off surface parking lot is seriously street-deadening.
  7. There has been a lack of community engagement and involvement in the site selection, followed by a rushed process taking place under a sudden deadline. To what extent will the community be involved in the design of the station and the selection of the community and cultural uses that could be attracted to occupy other parts of the site?
  8. The process to date has included little or no information on the impact that a police station on this site might have on rest of land and its immediate surroundings. This includes concerns over the Heritage Status as well as the loss of potential uses for this site (cultural, community, retail etc.) which may not be deemed a good fit to cohabit with a police station. Does the TPS, city real estate and city planning have partners in mind for the site and, if yes, who are they?

Community needs in regards to Coxwell TTC Barns site:

  1. The two police divisions extend from the Don River to Victoria Park yet only two public consultations were held at EYCC and further south, nearer the Dundas police station, perhaps because there are no large meeting spaces centrally located on the subway, near Danforth. Such a space would be essential to a mixed-use hub at the Danforth, as would outdoor public space + community recreation facilities and cultural uses. The area also needs functions that bring people to the area and its shops and restaurants from other parts of the city each day. It could be office space for all three levels of government or an educational institution (a police college?). Daycare, healthcare and a library that are all part of mixed-use buildings present real opportunity. Some residential, including apartments geared to seniors, might be a great part of the mix.
  1. The community and BIA have worked hard over the past five years to improve our commercial strip along Danforth East and create a vibrant street. This section of Danforth is lacking a pedestrian-friendly and welcoming retail strip, while the street frontages of the TTC site create blocks that are too long and impenetrable. Plans to redevelop the Coxwell TTC Barns should focus on economic development and the creation of pedestrian-friendly blocks. [Note: See work of Ryerson Architecture students “Danforth East Streetcar Yards” and Top Ten Ideas for the Danforth, by Paul Bedford’s Students presented at Imagine the Danforth, hosted by DECA in 2015.]
  1. We believe it’s important to work with the mid-rise guidelines created by city planning and approved by city council to develop this nearly five-acre site. They are essential elements of the ongoing Danforth Avenue Planning Study and cannot be ignored for any site, let alone such a key and potentially catalytic site. This has to be a primary focus, no matter what the TPS security concerns.

What can you do?

We have more influence the more members we have. If you haven’t joined DECA as a member, join now for $10/household annually: https://deca.to/membership/

The Toronto Police Service material provided these contacts for this process:

Toronto Police Service, Enrico Pera, Manager, Facilities Management, 416-808-7951, enrico.pera@torontopolice.on.ca

Real Estate Services, Nick Simos, Manager Development & Portfolio Planning, 416-392-7223, nick.simos@toronto.ca

City Planning, Paul Mulé, Senior Planner Community Planning, 416-392-1306, paul.mule@toronto.ca

You may also contact your City Councillor to ask your own questions and seek more information.

We will keep you posted as we learn more!

Construction Update: The home stretch

Thanks to Corrine McCabe for representing DECA at the Danforth Construction update meetings and for providing this update on the work currently being completed between Woodbine and Victoria Park.

As you have likely seen, we are into the home stretch.  According to the City, we are a week or so from completion of construction.

The street grinding on the south side of the Danforth just started last week.  They scheduled two to three days for grinding, then adjustments, then the final paving will be underway.

The date for the street sign re-installations is still TBD as they are looking at newly designed black poles with multiple signs on each so the street is not cluttered with different poles.

Street furniture will go back, with the addition of perhaps more benches on the strip.

ATTENTION BIKE ENTHUSIASTS! Bike rings will be re-installed–look for the spray painted circles with a line on the side walk for where they’ll be placed. There are no plans to increase the number of bike rings at present, but if any resident feels they would like more, they are to contact the City at streetfurniture@toronto.ca and request the location.  There’s budget for bike poles every year, so get your request in ASAP.  The City will review the request, and look at the area to see if another bike ring is indeed required.

All the trees have now been planted.  In a previous post we shared that the City planned on planting Norway Maples (among other species of trees).  A few readers questioned this choice given it is an invasive species.  We asked about that choice, however never got a real answer other than those trees have done well in Toronto street plantings.

The one and only existing tree railing on the south side of Danforth just East of Woodbine is just an idea. It will not be the final look.  This one is black, and realistically they will be looking at something that is not painted nor aluminium (paint chips and aluminium rusts).  The ground cover you see planted in that one example is also just an idea… it is often used on green roofs, so it may be used in further plantings. Final dates for the installation are not confirmed.

Development Updates and Fire truck petition

Updates on Development at Woodbine Station and 2359 Danforth Avenue (Morris Auction site), plus a petition about the Woodbine fire truck at the end.

Woodbine Station

You’re invited to a pre-construction open house, on Monday, January 27, 2014 at Danforth Mennonite Church.
2174 Danforth Avenue from 6:30-8:30 p.m.


2359 Danforth Avenue Development

Back in November, a community consultation was held on the development proposal at 2359 Danforth Avenue, the Morris Auction site.  DECA is not taking a position at this time, but we are committed to conveying information as it is available.  Councillor McMahon’s report on the meeting is below – send her an email if you would like more information. (We are not forwarding emails to her about this – please send them to her directly)

Community Consultation follow-up 2359 Danforth

Save the Woodbine Fire Truck

You don’t think much about first responders until you need them, and believe me that when you need them, you want them there as fast as possible!  Please consider signing this petition.

From Councillor Davis:

The 2014 City Budget includes reallocating one pumper truck and crew from Station #224 Woodbine (Woodbine and Holborne Avenue) to a new station in Scarborough. This would leave only one truck in our local station. I am concerned about what impact this will have on response times and safety in our community.

Neighbours have started a petition calling for the City to hire additional staff for the new station and to maintain the current level of fire service in our community.

Please sign the online petition < https://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/maintain-the-current-vehicles-and-crew-at-fire-station-224-woodbine > and ask your neighbours to sign as well.

If you would like to take further action on this, write to Clerk@Toronto.ca and ask for your email to be sent to all Councillors, or contact Councillor Davis councillor_davis@toronto.ca for more information.

Rackets, rackets, rackets

All kinds of rackets to tell you about…

Makin’ a Racket at the Rocket – November 15, 2013

This monthly spoken word event is not to be missed – they are taking December off so this is your last chance to make a racket in 2013!

Preview of “Racket Poster November%22

What’s all that racket?

Just a reminder that if you want to know more about the upcoming development project at 2359 Danforth Avenue (Morris Auction building, between Woodbine and Main), here’s your gentle reminder that the official consultation takes place this Tuesday, November 12 @ 7:00-8:30pm.  For details, here is our post about it from last week.

One last racket to talk about…

We have heard about a company running what people are describing as a scam in the neighbourhood. They call and offer cheap or free water testing, and then when they come to your home, inevitably discover a terrible problem and then try to sell you an expensive water filtration system.  If you get a call like this, google the company before you make any arrangement to have them into your home, so at least you are making an informed decision.

If you are worried about lead in your water and your house was built before the mid-1950s, call 311 to arrange for free testing through the City of Toronto.  You have to pick up and drop off your own samples, but at least you know that you can rely on the answers, and the price is right!  Here is the link for more info: http://www.toronto.ca/311/knowledgebase/35/101000039735.html

City of Toronto – Community Consultation Meeting for 2359 Danforth Ave

2359 Danforth Community Consultation, November 12, 2013 7:00-8:30pm

We’ve previously posted about the development proposal at 2359 Danforth Avenue (currently the Morris Auction Sales building).  Well, the official City of Toronto’s Community Consultation Meeting regarding the application for a 10-storey mixed use (retail and residential) has been scheduled.  It will be Tuesday, November 12th at the Danforth Mennonite Church, 2174 Danforth Avenue from 7:00-8:30 p.m.

2359 Danforth Avenue notice_1

Correction! Indoor Winter Farmers’ Market is on Thursdays

Yesterday we posted about the indoor winter farmers’ market at Artisans at Work and mistakenly said that it will take place on Tuesdays, when in fact, it will take place on Thursdays.  We corrected the post, but wanted to note the correction since 1000 of you get our posts by email!

Development Update 2362-2388 Danforth

As you probably know, developers will be constructing an 8 bay coin operated car wash at 2362-2388 Danforth. Since this property is zoned “Mixed Commercial Residential”, a car wash is permitted without rezoning. However, they have applied for a variance to the rear set-back – the distance between the back property line and the building. If the variance is granted, the car wash building will be located at the back of the site and cars will enter and exit from the front of the building rather than driving behind it. If you have any concerns with this, you may attend the Committee of Adjustment on:

Wednesday September 11, 2013
1:00 p.m.
Committee Room 2, 2nd Floor
City Hall, 100 Queen St W

You can also send comments in writing to Jenny Stark, Senior Planner, jcstark@toronto.ca and copy Janet Davis at Councillor_Davis@toronto.ca.