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Allan Gardens Revitalization Plan

Admiral Beez

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I visited the Halifax gardens, as well as the Boston gardens, last summer on a roadtrip. REALLY liked them and wished Toronto had something similar!
It does surprise me that a city with such Victorian and Edwardian roots does not have a single walled, ornamental or formal garden. The flower garden at St. James cathedral is about the closest we get. Thank goodness for the Cabbagetown garden tours event, so we can see great outdoor gardens.

Though I very much like the gates to Trinity Bellwoods and Craigleigh Gardens.

 

Northern Light

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It’s about trying to get more of this...



To balance against much of this...



Is there a way to get more ableminded folks and families into parks without exiling the homeless?
Let me begin by saying I rarely see that much litter in a Toronto park.

I've also passed through Allen Gardens on many occasions, while there certainly are homeless folks there quite often, I think you could easily pass at many times of day, most days and not see one occupying a whole bench lying down.

I think its important to address the underlying social issue, but its also important to accurately state the extent of the problem.

That said, I think homelessness is a concern, and the answer is outreach first.

But not just a social worker coming by to say 'hi'.

But a social worker with a team, one that can help someone (immediately) gain access to any mental health, addiction treatment, or other supports they may need.

Further, an offer of housing needs to be made that people can and will take up.

Most homeless would take up housing, but many will not use shelters.

The visibility of homelessness is partly folks not using shelters at all, and partly the many folks who do, but are booted out during daytime hours.

The reasons for turning down shelters vary, but can broadly be described as these:

Its not Safe
I don't want my stuff stolen.
They wont' let me drink/keep my booze
I don't want to rousted at dawn.
I have to be there at 'x' time of night or I don't get in.
Its not hygienic.

All of these are addressable by more appropriate shelter design and operation.

Shelters should provide private rooms (small, no frills, but with lockable doors to which they are given a key card, key or combo such that other 'guests' don't have access to their space.

This addresses theft, and reduces hygiene issues.

It also allows for people to come in at any hour because they aren't disturbing people in a common hall/room.

It likewise allows people to stay in their room, such that staff can clean common areas without having to boot folks out.

Drugs that require smoking or whose consumption is dangerous to others can continue to be restricted, but people can be allowed to keep alcohol for their own use, in their own room.

The lockable door addresses most concerns around personal safety.

Moving to such a system would get lots more homeless to come in off the streets voluntarily, where they can also be offered further assistance as I described above, including access to permanent housing.

***

That will not 'fix everything' or lure everyone off the street, but I feel confident it would reduce the issue by well over 1/2.

I think measures that help people not fall that far in the first place would further ameliorate the issue. (proper access to mental health and addiction services through OHIP/medicare); better income support programs, higher minimum wage etc.

From there, as I indicated, if you want to address the side effects of some folks use of the park, modify the park itself.

Don't want people doing their business in public (outside)? , then have washrooms, preferably clean, well maintained, open extended hours.

Don't want to see litter as an issue? That's hardly caused by the homeless in any significant measure, its a more general concern, but tackle it, through higher maintenance standards, more garbage bins, more frequent cleaning out of said bins (to avoid overflow).

Finally, attract the desirable uses to the space by investing in it, and making people want to use it that way.

Put back the grand central fountain.

Expand, restore and extend the hours of the greenhouse.

Provide more and better floral displays.

People will come through in greater numbers, and those who desperately need a quite place to rest will move on of their own volition, and not by police-state type measures.
 

Admiral Beez

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Let me begin by saying I rarely see that much litter in a TI've also passed through Allen Gardens on many occasions, while there certainly are homeless folks there quite often, I think you could easily pass at many times of day, most days and not see one occupying a whole bench lying down.

I think its important to address the underlying social issue, but its also important to accurately state the extent of the problem.

That said, I think homelessness is a concern, and the answer is outreach first.

But not just a social worker coming by to say 'hi'.

But a social worker with a team, one that can help someone (immediately) gain access to any mental health, addiction treatment, or other supports they may need.
Sure, but how do we pay for that? The average Ontario family already pays well over 50% of its net income in consumption taxes, income taxes, property taxes and health levies. We need to find the money in the system to fix homelessness, since there’s no enough blood in the stone.
 

Northern Light

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Sure, but how do we pay for that? The average Ontario family already pays well over 50% of its net income in consumption taxes, income taxes, property taxes and health levies. We need to find the money in the system to fix homelessness, since there’s no enough blood in the stone.
I can't say I understand your query.

First off, let's correct a problematic assumption.

Even the very conservative Fraser institute doesn't claim 50% for an 'average' family.

https://globalnews.ca/news/3691159/canada-taxes-incomes-fraser-institute/


(they come up with around 42% nation-wide; and most provinces have taxes above the levels in Ontario.)

****

Second, the investments I suggest produce savings quite quickly.

The cost of jailing someone is over $100 per day.

The cost of a typical ER visit is over $1,000

A single first-class constable, on just one shift in 51 division costs over $400.

(A social worker is cheaper)

The cost of hostel services is around $80 per night (or $2,400 per month)

Permanently housing that same person is $1,200 per month ($40 per day) if the state pays the full tab. (new public housing at cost)

A well designed hostel, of the type I described is actually less expensive to operate due to lower safety issues, less crime, less required supervision.

If you get only 10% of the homeless population back to working, and they pull in only minimum wage (full time) you recover about 30% of that wage in direct and indirect taxation; which means they
generate over 10M per year in Toronto alone, on top of the savings previously identified.

Its not hard to come up with the funds.

Further, as noted above Ontarians are not over-taxed; moreover, our businesses have among the lowest taxes in the developed world.

Fiscal discipline is important, and spending money more wisely is part of that, but neither should be afraid to raise some of the money to achieve a social good.
 

innsertnamehere

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The only one that approaches it is St James Park, though I don't believe any of them actually date from that time period.
 

Sky Blue Skin

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Northern Light

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I wonder what the status of the park renovation is?

There was also this, don't know if it's legitimate, but renovations and a small addition to the conservatory?

The addition is new public washrooms.

This is funded for this year, I think.

There is on-going money for Allen Gardens but in bits and pieces.

Regrettably, that makes the whole project more expensive to do.

An meaningful expansion of the Conservatory, along w/restoration work is in the offing.

I believe funding will be attached to a central park feature (most likely a fountain) at some point.

I'm not sure about the various smaller works such as redoing the pathways and enhancing entrance/exit landscaping.
 
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