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Madison Project “Due Diligence” Part 3 – School Season Neighbours
14 Jul 2017 Allan Meiusi
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EWR’s third installment into the proposed development of a new cultural centre at 9 and 11 Madison focuses on issues related to university fraternities and seasonal neighbours. Tartu College has made a business of servicing university students for nearly 50 years and through that history there have fortunately been very few bad actors and incidents that have impacted the residence negatively; at least in public forums. The same cannot be said of University of Toronto student populated fraternity houses that have inhabited the Annex over the decades.

Local City Councillor for Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina, Joe Cressy, and many of his predecessors, have heard the concerns and dire warnings of their constituents for years. Even though unrelated, the recent shooting in the parking lot at 9 Madison has drawn attention to the growing unease propagating throughout the neighbourhood; particularly, during the wee-hours of the night and over weekends. With a number of fraternity houses as well as a host of popular night spots and bars in the immediate area of Madison and Bloor, the frustration of Annex residents has seemed to hit another boiling point.

Councillor Cressy noted in a letter dated June 5th, 2017, the problem with controlling activities and conduct at fraternity houses is that these “entities” fall within a “grey area” that constricts their regulation. Since fraternities are not official bodies associated with the University of Toronto, discipline is essentially left to the police or other public agencies. The lack of accountability seems to embolden rather than dissuade a segment of the student body. As such, Councillor Cressy has sought support from his City Hall colleagues to change how by-laws are applied to fraternities, he asked that:

“Executive Committee direct the Executive Director, Municipal Licensing and Standards as part of the forthcoming report on multi-tenant houses to review and report back with recommendations on whether fraternity and sorority houses should be licensed as multi-tenant houses (rooming houses) and the feasibility of removing the exceptions for fraternities and sororities in Chapter 285, Rooming Houses, Section 285-8 Exceptions.”

Shortly after Cressy’s letter to the Executive Committee, Annex resident David Sterns sent Mayor John Tory a letter to underline the urgency of Cressy’s call to action. Stern’s strongly worded and detailed letter noted instances of unruly intoxication, drug trafficking, violence and sexual assault. For those unfamiliar with the impact of fraternities on neighbourhoods, outside of the comical version of university frats portrayed in John Landis’ “Animal House,” Stern’s letter to Mayor Tory is a chilling reflection of what many in the Annex have experienced.

The Madison Project may have to look at the requirement for security and the recurring cost to support those measures, particularly in regard to students and other youth programs using the proposed new centre.

Allan Meiusi

EWR Contributor

Councillor Cressy letter Re Frat Issues

Stern’s letter to Mayor Tory

Related: Toronto Eesti Maja tulevik

Madison Project “Due Diligence” Part 1

Madison Project “Due Diligence” Part 2