The Struggle Continues
Now, more than ever, we need to have strong community associations like the Annex Residents’ Association.
The first two steps that caused so much chaos for the residents of Toronto are over. The legislation mandating a 25-member City Council is law, and the citizens of Toronto have now chosen who will be the 25 councilors and re-elected Mayor Tory. The Annex Residents’ Association (ARA) welcomes Mike Layton as our new councilor for the Annex (Ward 11 University-Rosedale), while saying adieu to Joe Cressy who worked so well with us for the past four years.
The next task for the City under the new 25-ward structure will to properly organize its legislative affairs to manage proper representation for City residents and attend to the very real responsibilities for its’ many agencies,boards and commissions.
This work, which was previously managed by 44 Councillors, will now be done by just 25. As most councilors were already working at capacity, something will have to change. Some of our neighbors have already put together a proposal that suggests a new approach encouraging greater citizen input.
The ARA works to improve the quality of life in our community and enhance our environment. We will all need to be more vigilant and attentive as we go forward in the new municipal reality.
Your involvement is more important than ever, and we ask for your continued support.
Chair, Annex Residents’ Association
Fraternity Houses in the Annex
As many of us live near a fraternity house, the Annex Residents’ Association (ARA) wants to share some important news and to let you know about a new Fraternity Liaison Committee.
Fraternity and Sorority Houses Must Now Be Licensed By the City
As of May 23 of this year, fraternity and sorority houses must be licensed under the City of Toronto’s Multi-tenant Houses (Rooming Houses) by-law. Up until then, these houses were exempted from this by-law and were not subject to any regulatory regime. (Despite popular belief, frat houses are neither affiliated with nor governed by the University of Toronto.)
The Rooming House exemption was removed by City Council on May 23 following a multi-year push by the ARA,its members and Councillor Joe Cressy. The Rooming House regulations will now ensure that:
- the houses adhere to minimal fire, safety and sanitation standards;
- the Fire Marshall will now be able to conduct regular inspections of these old houses, some of which host large- scale parties.
- each house must have a waste disposal plan and post the contact information of a responsible person.
Importantly for neighbouring residents, the licensing process means that community members will now be able to offer input when a particular house applies for or renews a Rooming House licence. If a house chooses to regularly disrupt neighbours or refuses to meet minimal standards, it can be denied a licence or have conditions imposed.
We expect that if the licensing regime works as intended, it will improve the safety and well-being of Frat house residents, their party guests and their surrounding neighbours.
What the ARA Is Doing
The ARA has formed the Fraternity Liaison Committee led by ARA Director David Sterns (email@example.com).David was actively involved in the process which led to the repeal of the Rooming House exemption. The committee will interact with neighbours, Frat houses and the City to ensure that the new regime operates as intended.
The committee has begun its work by reaching out to certain houses and distributing a flier listing the five things Frat houses can do to improve their relations with their neighbours. The houses approached so far have responded positively to the outreach.
So far, none of the houses identified as “rowdy” by the Toronto Star in a2011 article have applied for a licence. The Fraternity Liaison Committee intends to make submissions if and when the houses that have posed the most serious problems in the past apply for a licence.
What Neighbours Can Do
The ARA welcomes Frat houses that respect their neighbours. We will also play an active role in the licensing application and renewal process to ensure that they all operate safely and respectfully.
Annex Residents Help Residents of 650 Parliament
The Annex Residents’ Association (ARA) last week handed over the proceeds that local residents donated to help the tenants left homeless by the 650 Parliament Street fire.
Moved by the distress the tenants were facing, the members of the ARA moved quickly last month to turn their annual fall Corn Fest into a fundraiser for the tenants. Hundreds of Annex residents showed up, making it the most successful CornFest ever. The donations and a silent auction raised a total of $3165.
L-R: Terri Chu, Chair David Harrison, Rita Bilerman, Micky Fraterman from the ARA. Ingrid Cumberbatch; Larry Akinyele, Shabana Sohail from Community Matters.
ARA Chair David Harrison says “people in the Annex jumped at the chance to help other Torontonians.
What started out as one person’s idea became a neighbourhood-wide effort in a matter of hours.”
“I was astounded by how quickly local business came forward with goods and services for the silent auction,” says organizer Terri Chu. “It showed, once again, that the Annex is a caring and sharing neighbourhood.”
ARA Board members today donated the proceeds to the charity Community Matters, which provides direct services to residents of the St. James Town neighbourhood.
For more information or to arrange for interviews, contact: David Harrisonchair@theara.org