Creating Spaces to Support Our Community
Meeting Midtown Toronto’s growing needs
BY:COUNCELLOR JOSH MATLOW
When the provincial government designated the Yonge and Eglinton area of Midtown Toronto as a “Growth Centre” they unfortunately only legislated one aspect – new condos. No additional funding or direction was provided to build new schools, affordable childcare centres, recreation spaces or the social services necessary to build complete neighbourhoods. That’s why I worked with local residents, parents, TDSB Trustee Shelley Laskin and City of Toronto Staff for the last seven years to ensure that a Community Hub would be part of the Davisville school rebuild.
I am excited to announce that a final agreement has been reached with the School Board for the City to fund the Davisville Hub and Site Plan approval has been provided by our Planning Division to begin construction on the project, which will start with the school. The new public facility will provide new and much-needed recreation opportunities, including:
• A new double gymnasium within the school that will have community access some evenings and on Saturdays for City-run recreation programs
• An aquatic facility in a separate City building on the Davisville PS site which will include one 25 metre, 6 lane pool and a warm water teaching pool with the appropriate ancillary spaces (i.e. change rooms, administrative and mechanical spaces)
• Affordable Child Care Centre
• Multi-purpose rooms, including a community space of approximately 5,000 square feet
• Roof top park/garden that will include a green roof, elevator access, patio and walking path
Community Hubs can provide a central access point for a range of needed social services, along with cultural, recreational and educational opportunities that reflect the needs of the surrounding residents.
As the new City Councillor for the Oakwood Vaughan & St. Clair West communities, I am exploring the possibility of creating a new hub to serve local residents.
This March, I moved a motion at Council to have City Staff work with the School Board and community agencies to assess the feasibility of establishing a hub at Vaughan Road Academy (VRA), located at 529 Vaughan Road. While no longer an operating school, the TDSB voted in February 2017 to retain the building as a “core holding” and put it to use for purposes still to-be-negotiated. Currently, the school is being used as an ‘overflow’ school to accommodate students from schools that are under construction in other parts of the city.
A community-based organization, Oakwood Vaughan Neighbourhood Action Partnership (OVNAP), has been engaged in discussions to add more community programs and services at 529 Vaughan Road.
Parks, Forestry and Recreation already offers swimming lessons and basketball programs at VRA, and the Learning Enrichment Foundation operates a child care centre on the site.
A community hub would help address the need for programming and space in this community and would align with the Oakwood Vaughan Strategic Plan to foster safe and vibrant neighborhoods.