Parkdale residents fight back against condo that will replace Queen's Hotel
Parkdale has somehow seemed able to ward off the beast of inevitable gentrification better than most other Toronto neighbourhoods — save for the whole vegandale takeover moment — and locals are continuing to fight the good fight in the face of a potential condo development in the area's west end.
A chic eight-storey residential building with ground floor retail is proposed to replace a handful of small businesses that include Toronto's worst-reviewed accommodation, the late West Queen West Hotel, also referred to as the Queen's Hotel at Queen and Sorauren.
The building has served as a bit of an eyesore and a "problem property" for some, and online feedback about the hotel specifically cites rooms filled with leftover drug paraphernalia and premises that smell like decomposing bodies.
Demand #JusticeforQueensHotel! Sign the petition to halt the development at 1521 Queen St W unless BSaR replaces the 27 affordable units they unlawfully evicted in 2015. https://t.co/kQnCbXVhkZ #TOPoli— Joe Chang (@JoeMacChang) September 9, 2020
Residents are protesting the new project because the hotel provided affordable dwellings for 27 people that were evicted from developer BSäR in 2015 — and that the new structure's 78 units will not realistically be accessible to the people of Parkdale.
"We are community members and former tenants who say NO to this development, unless the developers replace the 27 affordable dwelling rooms that BSäR violently and unlawfully de-tenanted," a petition demanding justice for the hotel's former residents reads.
"We won't let BSäR spin a false narrative about neighbourhood 'improvement' that erases their cruel displacement of community members in Parkdale."
We are halfway through our goal 🌡️ of making a strong showing to the developers of 1521 Queen St—the former Queen's Hotel—that #Parkdale demands better for our neighbours. 27 tenants unlawfully evicted have voices and community solidarity. Please sign: https://t.co/MKi12GqsFg pic.twitter.com/3xmnfHINOV— Parkdale People's Economy (@ParkdalePPE) September 9, 2020
Community groups like Parkdale People's Economy also say that BSäR's methodology was not only unlawful but also included a "campaign of harassment and intimidation" on tenants. The company apparently pleaded guilty to four counts of unlawfully recovering possession of a rental unit under the Residential Tenancies Act back in 2016.
Concerned citizens took part in a community consultation meeting organized by the City on Wednesday, but noted that those most impacted by the development are those likely unable to access the virtual event.
This is a massive equity issue. Many Parkdale neighbours have been disproportionately affected by this development & can't access internet. It is essential the @cityoftoronto addresses barriers to participation and seeks meaningful ways to reach community members where they are.— Emma Clayton Jones (@emma_cjones) September 9, 2020
Hopefully, with locals' calls for some sort of resolution, a better outcome can be found for the hotel's former residents as the development moves forward.
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