Local politicans ready ‘to knock down, rebuild’

A Toronto city councillor says that a move to revitalize the city’s public housing stock is long overdue.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, (Ward 7, York West) a director at Toronto Community Housing Board of Directors, says a Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) plan to improve the conditions in public housing is a great idea.

“We should have done this a long time ago. For me this is an opportunity to revitalize; knock down the old, rebuild… It’s refreshing to a community like Jane and Finch,” he said.

The plan, which has the support of Mayor David Miller, needs to be approved by the TCH’s board of directors and then city council. The project is estimated to cost $1.5 billion over 10 years.

The TCHC provides housing throughout the city to over 164,000 residents. The TCHC is asking the city and eventually the province to approve the sale of 45 single family homes and three apartment buildings (389 Church St., 257  Dundas St E. and 50 Torbolton Drive) in order to raise money for the project.

Already the city and Toronto housing have spent collectively $630 million in improving community housing. As proposed, the project will be similar to the one already taking place at Regent Park and will be a mixed-income neighbourhood.

Mayor Miller said that he has read the plan and is impressed, given the state of the public housing stock a decade ago, when the province downloaded its responsibility to the city.

“It’s pretty impressive when you consider the hand we started,” Miller said. He added the plan will help bridge the gap between rich and poor in Toronto.

“It will mean building a city where there isn’t a giant gap between the rich and the poor,” he said.

David Mitchell, Chairman of Toronto Community Housing’s Board of Directors, says that the project will create jobs.

“It’s the smart thing to do for our city. It’s the right thing to do for our people and given the jobs and economic activity it will create it’s the right time to do it,” he said.