Uncontrolled Operation of Methadone Clinic Puts Community Revitalization at Risk
By Cesar Palacio,
Toronto City Councillor Ward-17 Davenport
The Province of Ontario continues to fund a Methadone Clinic located at Dufferin and St. Clair despite the fact that it is operating in a manner that is both disruptive and harmful to the revitalization of our community.
Unfortunately, the clinic treats many more patients than it is equipped to handle. Although it is designed to treat a small number of patients, this clinic actually handles over 150 patients per day. The clinic’s small capacity has resulted in a large number of people loitering, aggressively panhandling and engaging in other forms of disruptive conduct in the community.
On May 24 th at a Community Safety Meeting with Police Chief Bill Blair, a common issue among many residents was safety concerns regarding the Methadone Clinic. At the meeting, Police Chief Blair said, “There is a place for methadone clinics. I’m not sure it’s in the middle of a residential neighbourhood.”
The situation has gotten completely out of control and has reached the point where the local McDonald’s has installed a safe needle disposal station in its washroom. This has shocked the many children, seniors, and families who regularly visit this establishment.
Unfortunately the Province does not understand the impact that this clinic is having on the surrounding community, as the constant police presence creates a sense that the area is struggling.
Although the zoning allows for this use and the clinic performs a valuable service, does that mean that this is an ideal location for the clinic? The answer is a definite NO! The St. Clair and Dufferin area has one of the highest levels of pedestrian traffic, a number of elementary schools, a church, daycares, and will be home to a soon to be created nearby Parkette.
Through local and city-wide initiatives, such as BIA events and the Exclusive Right-of-Way transit project, Davenport residents and the City of Toronto have invested millions of dollars to reclaim this area for the enjoyment of the community. The revitalization of this area has encouraged residents to rediscover the wonderful eateries and shopping establishments which have become the focal point of our community.
However, if the Province continues to fund this clinic without placing restrictions on its operations to address our community’s concerns, it will overturn the gains that we have made towards the betterment of our neighbourhood. We strongly feel that it is unfair to place this extra unwanted burden on our community.
I have set-up numerous meetings with the local BIA, Toronto Police Services, Tim Horton’s, McDonald’s and the Methadone Clinic to try and work out a compromise. However, each time the owners of the clinic refuse to take any responsibility for their patients once they have left the premises. This is totally unacceptable!
Our community has worked too hard to revitalize the area and we cannot allow this clinic to disrupt this feat. I strongly object to the continued uncontrolled operation of the Methadone Clinic and I plan to continue this fight until changes are made.
In order to accomplish this goal, I will mobilize the community starting with a petition asking that the Minister of Health and the Premier to stop funding the uncontrolled operation of this clinic. To sign a copy of this petition, you can visit my website at www.cesarpalacio.com/How You Can Help .
By working together, I know that we will make effective changes and preserve our community.
Green Vision for Ward 17
Under this term of Council, and as a member of the City’s Executive Committee, I am confident that a greater and greener future will be achieved.
Cleaner and Greener Neighbourhoods
The “Green Plan” created in conjunction with residents of Ward 17 to improve existing parks/green-spaces is moving forward to provide our families and children with a place to walk, play, and enjoy the outdoors in the heart of Davenport.
City staff has been in negotiations with Hydro One, for the past few months, in order to secure lease agreements that will transform our neglected and abandoned Hydro lands into public green spaces. Once the lands are leased, with your help, we will be able to secure the funding required, for development. This ambitious plan will include playgrounds, paths for walking and cycling, and landscaping.
Hydro Corridor Update
City staff has moved closer to securing Hydro One Corridor lease agreements that will transform neglected and abandoned Hydro lands between St. Clair and Davenport- next to Wiltshire Avenue, and the 2 sites east and west of Dovercourt south of Geary Avenue, into public green spaces.
Earlscourt Park Revitalization
This year, Earlscourt Park has seen amazing improvements that have rejuvenated our cherished green space. In particular, the new $1.7 million state-of-the-art soccer field has been a welcoming addition to our community! This new prime facility has become a destination place to a wide range of local community groups for small games and large tournaments.
A new “Dog Off-Leash” area was unveiled this year at the south east corner of Earlscourt Park. This is a great open-space addition to our park and community, as our canine friends (and their owners) have a space to come together and socialize.
The Duraven Tunnel Project
The Duraven Tunnel Project in Bert Robinson Park, by Caledonia Road and Kitchener Avenue, is scheduled to be completed in the near future. This ambitious project will create a safe and well-lit pedestrian path that connects Wards 12 and 17; putting an end to what it was — a hidden spot ideal for drug dealing and illegal activities.
Pelham Avenue Playground
A new facelift to the parkette will take place. Four new benches will be installed, in the near future, in the playground area. I am working with Parks and Recreation staff on other capital project improvements that will enhance and beautify this park land. As soon as the requested “conceptual designs” are ready, I will schedule a public meeting to get your input.
Charles Bareton Park
Following a community meeting that took place in November, I was pleased to inform residents of several changes that will be implemented at Charles Bareton Park. Lighting and benches will all be improved, while a new landscaping design at the Oakwood Avenue entrance will make the park more inviting for children and families to use.
Environment Day & Community Clean Up Day
My office continues to work in conjunction with City agencies, local BIA’s, and community associations to protect the safety and cleanliness of all neighbourhoods in Ward 17. Hundreds of local residents attended our annual Environment Day at Loretto College on May 24, 2011. Environment Day helps to promote a cleaner and greener future for Davenport. Once again, this year, my office partnered with several community associations to help clean up parks, side streets, and public laneways. Special thanks to all those community leaders and community groups who volunteered their time toward the betterment of our local community.
Free Compost Days
This year my office hosted many “Free Community Compost Days”.
The popularity of composting is continuing to grow in Ward 17, as it is great for gardening, landscaping or just greening your lawn.
The compost comes from the City of Toronto residents’ leaf and yard waste program. My office uses part of the annual office budget to purchase this compost and provides it to local community residents, at no cost. Thank you to the staff from Parks and Recreation, TCDSB & TDSB, and local residents for their support. A special thank you to the hundreds of residents that signed our petition, in support of keeping these annual “Free Community Compost Days” as part of our annual events.
2012 Garden Contest
I would like to commend those of you who are helping us to increase the “tree canopy” and creating beautiful, environmental, natural design gardens that are growing exponentially all over our ward. Congratulations to all the winners of the Great Gardens Contest living on:
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