Public Outcry Against Proposed Daycare in Cabbagetown


Public Outcry Against Proposed Daycare in Cabbagetown

Photo Source: Element5 Digital via Unsplash

Cabbagetown residents are, yet again, against another proposed development in their community, except this time the uproar is about a daycare- yes, you read correctly…a daycare.

The neighbourhood, located in Central Toronto, is encircled by historic Victorian-era multi-unit houses, one of which developers would like to convert into a daycare space for children. The proposed development, located at the corner of Sackville and Amelia Street, will be in place of a 130-year old heritage building; partially the basis for the flagrant outcry.

Once again, Toronto is in the middle of Yes in My Back Yard (YIMBYs) vs. Not in My Back Yard (NIMBYs). The residents backing the need for the new development (YIMBYs), are stating the much-needed facility will be the first of its kind in the neighborhood, while the opposition (NIMBYs) are rejecting the construction, claiming it will cause too many issues. The application was met with 50 letters of support, and 80 letters of opposition. The voices opposing the construction of the new development, are worried the new daycare will bring increased traffic to the currently peaceful neighbourhood, or cause problems with parking in the already congested, one-way residential streets. “It will create a lot of havoc twice a day,” Gail Gordon Oliver, a Cabbagetown resident, told the Toronto Star. “The street and sidewalks are already a safety hazard and would be further compromised in the event that emergency vehicle(s) would need access. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Photo Source: Piron Guillaume via Unsplash

The YIMBYs in the neighbourhood, on the other hand, believe there is a desperate need for a walkable daycare in the area, and would like to see the development built. Thorben Wieditz, father of a 4-year-old and a resident in Cabbagetown, told the Toronto Star how shocked he was to hear the backlash over the proposed development. “Establishing a walkable daycare option is important. When (my) daughter was in daycare it was a 10-minute journey on foot. Crossing two major roads full of commuter traffic. It’s not dangerous to kids to have a daycare centre there. The streets in Cabbagetown are narrow and don’t invite people to drive fast. Opposing this is unfathomable.” Reddit user Homunculusprime is also shocked at the behaviour the community is showing. “It’s one thing for residential street dwellers to hate condos, or loud bars or assisted housing, that’s nothing new for NIMBYs,” the Redditor writes. “But to oppose something that by its very nature would be applicable by probably a sizeable group of residents in the area?!? Ugh.”

Photo Source: Yahoo News

This is not the first time Cabbagetown residents protested a new development in their community. Back in 2015, there was opposition against a splash pad the city built in Wellesley Park. Local NIMBYers argued that the colour of the tarp (that was used to shade the children from the blistering sun) was the antithesis of the area’s Victoria-era heritage, stating it was not compliant with the tastefulness of the neighbourhood. More recently in 2017, Bike Share, a municipal bike lending program, installed a station with 14 bikes at the corner of Riverdale Park. The community contended the bikes, claiming it interfered with the “character, rhythm, and overall setting of Cabbagetown,”and wanted the city to remove the well-used rack from the public park.

Photo Source: Toronto Star

The landscape of Toronto neighbourhoods has always transformed. Cabbagetown was once considered a less-desirable part of town, Liberty Village was once a centre of industry, and the major suburbs we have now used to be farmland or rather small settlements. These areas have benefitted from intensification; it’s what has shaped them into the neighbourhoods we know and love today. Rather than completely hindering a new development, we all need to work together to accept that growth is normal and change is healthy. To those objecting the daycare in Cabbagetown, let’s try and work together to find middle ground, after all, the proposed daycare you are objecting, will be to benefit busy, hard-working parents and their children.

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