Keeping Kids Safe: No Respite Sites Beside Schools
UPDATE (as of Nov. 22, 2023)
The City of Toronto has changed the programming for 629 Adelaide St. W. from a low-barrier respite site to a shelter with mandatory intake and case management.
However, there remains significant unaddressed gaps related to safety, including but not limited to:
Track Record of Failure — Concerns about the intended operator, St. Felix, and their poor track record of dealing with spillover from their managed site in Liberty Village that has led to increases in crime in the neighbourhood;
Tent Encampments — Encampments inevitably follow the opening of these facilities as seen when other sites were opened in the city, the responses provided by city staff in response to how tent encampments will be avoided were insufficient, indicated that they had not learned from past failures, and gave residents no confidence that this concern will be addressed;and
Keeping Laneways Clear — It was abundantly clear in the comments and answers provided by city staff in response to community questions on how they would keep laneways clear that they had not yet visited the site prior to the first information meeting and were unable to provide residents with any reassurances.
The City of Toronto has recklessly decided, without community consultation, to locate a 24/7 low-barrier respite site at 629 Adelaide St. W. without any central intake beside an elementary school. As the figure below illustrates, this location would literally sandwich St. Mary Catholic Elementary School (middle) between the site (left) and an injection site (right).
Not pictured is Niagara Street Junior Public School, which is only two blocks west of the proposed site.
Moreover, the site is located only 70m from a school bus drop off and literally on the path that children from Niagara Street Jr. P.S. would take to attend after school programs at St. Mary C.E.S.
The deterioration in public safety in Toronto coincides with municipal decisions removing protections for local communities:
In 2019, By-law 545-2013 made amendments to By-law 128-2003, removing the requirement that the location of a shelter be restricted from being located 250 metres from another shelter, emergency shelter, hostel or crisis care facility. It also required that any location be near major and minor arterial roads
In October 2023, the Niagara and King West community learned the City of Toronto intended to open in early 2024 a low-barrier, 24/7 respite site without any central intake system beside an elementary school, recklessly endangering children and the safey of this quiet residential community
We acknowledge the land that the community of Spadina-Fort York and which the Office of Kevin Vuong, M.P. operates on has for thousands of years been the traditional territory of many Nations, including the Chippewa, the Anishnabeg, the Huron-Wendat, the Haudenosaunee, the Mississaugas of the Credit, and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Our Office acknowledges that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Williams Treaties signed with multiple Mississaugas and Chippewa bands.