Tenants rise in Parkdale


City to send in inspectors after Parkdale tenants act to

expose slum conditions at Wynn Queen St. Properties

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective
Frances Sedgwick's keen eye and ear for the human condition reveals the heart and soul of Parkdale in southwest Toronto, one of the country's most turbulent urban areas where the best traditions of human kindness prevail against powerful forces that would grind them down. True North Perspective proudly presents a column by writer Frances Sedgwick. Her critical observation combined with a tender sense of humour will provide you with something to think about ... and something to talk about.

ParkTales Image, smallParkdale Tenants continue to organize, this time against one of the most notorious slum landlords in Parkdale, the Wynn Properties.

Located at 103 and 105 West Lodge Ave., just south of Queen St. West, the buildings have 720 units.

The conditions in their units are so bad residents held a rally in front of the two buildings on February 20 to draw attention to their unacceptable living conditions.

Responding to tenant pressure on Friday March 4, the Toronto Building Audit Team will inspect service rooms and common areas. They will also set up an an on-site office where tenants can make complaints about problems in their units instead of having to call 311.

Image: Photograph of highrise apartment towers at 103 and 105 Westlodge Avenue in Toronto's Parkdale Neighbourhood. Photo by Frances Sedgwick.The rally succeeded in drawing serioius media attention.The tenants' complaints were covered extensively in the Toronto Star  and on CBC radio, TV and the Parkdale Villager.

To quote from the Villager:

"One of the residents who moved into the West Lodge Tower in Parkdale four years ago said the unit was not in an optimal condition and has gotten progressively worse as the years went on.

"The walls are full of fungus and they (the Wynns) won't repaint them.

"The toilet doesn't flush properly. I have to add water to the tank and it's been like that since I moved in.

"A portion of his ceiling is also caving in. The door to the balcony lets in cold air and he has issues of bedbugs and cockroaches."

Image: Tenants protest in front of Westlodge Towers in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhoon on 20 February 2016. Photo by Frances Sedgwick.

Organizing gets results because the City of Toronto has assigned inspectors.

Since the demo and coverage in the press the City of Toronto has posted a sign in the entrance to the two buildings stating the city will send inspectors to the building and set up a mobile unit for tenants to bring their work orders and complaints.

According Cole Webber, a member of Parkdale Organize, a community organization focused on helping tenants, "Over the past few months tenants at both buildings have come together to create a committee to boost their pull for repairs. Upwards of 60 tenants from both properties form the committee. This is the first rally tenants have organized with the goal of getting the landlord to take notice of the pressing repair issues."

Conditions continue to get worse in Parkdale as apartment buildings are being bought up by unscrupulous companies forcing out low income residents so they can jack up the rent to whatever the market will bear.

Affordable housing has been promised by all levels of governments but nothing has materialized. Instead affordable housing is diminishing every day as rents skyrocket out of control because the Provincial Government refuses to enforce meaningful rent controls.


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