Junction resident Jill Leclair says she’s frustrated with rowdy bars in her neighbourhood.
The number of restaurants and bars in the area has risen substantially and Leclair says residents are dissatisfied with the noise, disorderly conduct and vandalism that has accompanied high bar density.
This concern became a focal point at a Ward 18 candidates debate Monday, Sept. 13. Eight of the 12 candidates vying for the seat — Ana Bailou, Kevin Beaulieu, Doug Carroll, Frank De Jong, Nha Le, Joe MacDonald, Hema Vyas and Abdirazak Elmi — squared off at the Theatre Centre.
Leclair asked the candidates for their ideas about resolving this problem. She said the issue needed to be urgently addressed as it was eroding the quality of life in her community.
“It used to be a neighbourhood area,” Leclair said. “Now it is a party destination.”
Vyas suggested using pictures of children on signs to remind people that Davenport is a neighbourhood where families live and that the district is not just a place to party. Businesses and residents need to work together to solve the problem, she added.
“It’s time for us to work with businesses, the BIA, and residents,” Vyas said. “We’ve lost our balance.
“We need a mix of retailers that reflects the need of our community.”
The debate, hosted by local resident group Active18, had discussions about transportation, governance and community outreach, but planning and urban design were of most concern to candidates and constituents alike. Candidates were quick to point out that Toronto, despite the many planning blunders of council, had opportunities for improvement.
“We have a lot of redevelopment potential,” Frank De Jong said.
Ward 18 is a high density neighbourhood, De Jong added, with galleries, churches, and supermarkets all within walking distance. It’s also fairly accessible, he said.
But Vyas said accessibility issues concern many in the neighbourhood. She has encountered seniors who were unable to grocery shop because their was no bus or car service on Dundas West; construction had completely blocked the road.
“Our streets have changed without consultation,” Vyas said. “We need to sit down and plan our streets with everyone.”
Joe MacDonald agreed that bad planning can only happen if people in city hall do not care, since developments are not approved overnight.
“If a councillor does not care, then the developer can do whatever they want,” MacDonald said.
Ward 18 is a race to watch, as it has no incumbent. Current rep Adam Giambrone isn’t seeking reelection.