Across from Collingwood Neighbourhood House on Joyce Street, there are a number of essential restaurants and small food stores.
These small businesses are threatened by a developer proposal to build a 32-storey condominium tower on the site. The proposal includes 293 condominiums, 228 car and 588 bicycle parking spaces, retail on the ground level, and a new library on the second floor.
On Community Engagement and Consultation
To date, consultation undertaken by the city and the developer has been inaccessible and incomprehensive. Many people are still discovering the plan, and there is growing concern that both developers and the City are prepared to hastily proceed in approving this application without sufficient engagement with local residents and businesses. Plans and feedback materials are only available in English, alienating community members that do not speak English as a first language. This is significant in a community where over 64% of residents identify as speaking a non-English mother tongue.
Another barrier lies in the medium used to host engagement and feedback activities. Online surveys currently being utilized as a primary medium of engagement require access to technology and the internet, this is a significant barrier to seniors, especially those who are marginalized. We have seen limited non-digital alternatives for filling out the survey.
Loss of Cultural Food Assets
For many folks in our community, particularly those of Filipinx, Korean, and Chinese descent, the businesses, and especially the restaurants located at 5163-5187 Joyce St, function as vital as community spaces, meeting spaces, and cultural spaces. These businesses provide community members with access to important cultural food items, ranging from produce, herbal medicines, traditional goods and favourite restaurant dishes. They are important points of entry into the labour force for newcomers who face multiple barriers to employment. These businesses are what make the Collingwood neighbourhood a diverse, cultural hub, and a place that newcomers and BIPOC folks identify with as feeling “like home.”
As it stands, the re-development of 5163-5187 Joyce St plans to displace these multiple small businesses and restaurants with one 5,200 sq ft retail space. This is a significant threat to the cultural fabric of our community that will disproportionately impact residents of colour. Businesses that will be lost include; Sari-Sari Filipino Convenience Store, Kumare Express, Pampanga’s Cuisine, Plato Filipino, Joyce Jiaozi, and Kay Market.
We know from our conversations with restaurant owners that they would like to return once the building is complete. Supports that would allow this to happen to include granting existing businesses first right of return (first dibs on retail space going into the building) and grandfathering their current rents for the new space. Additionally, the restaurants want to remain a hub serving their community together, as such the owners are open to the possibility of sharing a larger space together.
Do you want to let the City know what you think? Follow this link for more information and to submit a comment on the proposal 5163-5187 Joyce St rezoning application: https://shapeyourcity.ca/5163-5187-joyce-st
It is so important for the City to hear from our neighborhood. We hope you will make every effort to comment to the City and encourage others to comment.