by Errol Young (Jane Finch Action Against Poverty)
A plan called “Tower Renewal” is being promoted by the City of Toronto, and some property management companies and other institutions.
The idea, on the surface, is a good one. The high-rises that we are living in now were built between 1950s to early 1980s. The majority of these building are located in the so-called ‘priority neighborhoods’ in Etobicoke, Scarborough and North York including Jane and Finch. They are reaching the end of their usefulness. Elevators break down, windows leak water, heating problems is ongoing, roofs are crumbling and parking garages are badly off.
But instead of landlords using part of our rent to keep the buildings in good shape, they have let them deteriorate and have pocked the profits.
So the City and its partners are now promoting the tower renewal and offering incentives (more landlord profits) to encourage the landlords to buy into the renewal.
That will be good for the tower owners but what about tenants? There are serious concerns that this “Tower renewal” could eventually lead to thousands of tenants displaced temporarily or even permanently.
So if “Tower Renewal” is coming to your building; you might like to ask a few questions:
What is Tower Renewal truly all about? Ask for full transparency.
What will happen to tenants when the work is being done? Will you have to move?
Will your rents go up?
What will stop the landlords from converting the “renewed” apartment towers into condos?
Will there be jobs for local residents during and as a result of the renewal?
How will tenants have a say in all decision-makings about their homes and communities?
There has been no serious effort by the City and its partners to answer questions like this. Almost no one knows anything about this project.
Jane Finch Action Against Poverty is tracking this and will be calling meetings in our community.