Locals aim to preserve Dollarama store in vulnerable neighbourhood

Save the Dollarama Project hosts petition to prevent east-end development

1099 Broadview Ave. Dollarama location
East-end Dollarama is slated to be closed down and the site redeveloped. (Nimrah Khan/Toronto Observer) 

A local group has organized a petition to stop the Dollarama at 1099 Broadview Ave. from being shut down in the low-income neighbourhood.

Developers are proposing to turn the store into a 10-storey building by RAW design for Crombie REIT.

The store has served the area which has a high number of low-income families and has many government housing-based properties.

The development would force everyone in the community to use the grocery store Sobeys, which is a problem because the people in the community are so financially challenged.

“Will they end up having to make the decision whether they should eat tonight or go get diapers for their children?” said Melyssa Kaarls, a supervisor at Abiona Early Learning Centre across the street from Dollarama.

Kaarls said that the clients Abiona Centre serve include young, expecting, or parenting mothers who live on a minimal income and face extreme barriers. Some of the barriers include financial stability, mental health, well being, and accessibility.

She also said having the Dollarama directly across the street eliminates transportation, the fear of parents not being able to financially meet the needs of their children.

“When you take away something that creates such stability in the community whether it’s our clients that are using it or even the community from an overall perspective it takes out one piece from the puzzle,” Kaarls said.

Proposal to develop Dollarama site
Sign in front of Dollarama proposes 10-storey building with a park and commercial use on the ground level. (Nimrah Khan/Toronto Observer)

“Sometimes decisions that are made by people in higher positions don’t recognize the value of something like Dollarama, they see Dollarama as dime in a dozen, doesn’t matter. But they don’t necessarily look at the impacts it has on the communities,” Kaarls said. “That is where we fall short for the people we serve but also for the community as a whole.”

The clients that Abiona Centre serve are not the only ones that are going to be affected.

Shakira Sinclair, a early childcare educator who works in close proximity of the Dollarama, said she will miss the store.

“It does affect me personally as most of my goods and crafts come from Dollarama, the materials are age appropriate and it is very affordable versus the competitors and its accessible,” Sinclair said.

“Save the Dollarama Project” is a petition that Abiona Centre has created for their clients as well as anyone in the community.

“We are working on making it an online petition soon,”  said Jessica Smith, project organizer and school counsellor at Abiona Centre.

A spokesperson for Dollarama said the store is staying open for the time being at least..

“While we are aware that the property is for sale and may be redeveloped in future, it is business as usual at the store and we currently have no near-term plans regarding this location, said Maxine Illick of Dollarama Media Relations. “We remain committed to continuing to serve the local community through this location and other area Dollarama stores.”

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Posted: Oct 26 2023 10:19 pm
Filed under: News