Letters September 2019

Re: Getting on in Leaside

I am responding to the July 2019 issue of Leaside Life, and in particular to Glenn Asano’s article  in which the magazine posed the question “Do you have ideas or resources that could benefit our senior community?”

I am a Leasider, and founder of Inclusive Aging, an occupational therapy company that helps older Canadians stay healthy, safe and functional at home and throughout the community. My clients include seniors, families and businesses. I’m also a huge advocate of age-friendly communities, which looks at several dimensions of healthy aging – to keep older adults active and involved.

I’ve reached out directly to Glenn, and already know Michel Tordjam, who was featured in one of the articles by Ken Mallett. Lorna [Krawchuk’s] article on Leaside churches also caught my eye re: Karen’s Loan Cupboard at Northlea United. I think your July issue has started a conversation about aging in Leaside.  While I’m still an aspiring PROBUS member (maybe in another 10 to 15 years), I welcome any opportunities to connect with yourselves and/or others who are interested in supporting seniors to live life to the fullest in our community. Thank you for your work!

Margot McWhirter

Re: Talbot apartments redux not going well for tenants

I live at Kelvingrove apartments and felt compelled to respond to the article in the June 2019 issue.

Personally, I was less surprised by the facts presented, than the mixed conversations it stirred among neighbours here and elsewhere. While some people expressed concern over the theme, potentially reflecting negatively on the community, others shared their sense of relief that they aren’t alone and there is indeed a community which they are part of.

It’s articles like this which bring up the interesting social dynamics we live in today. One person may endure an injustice while their next door neighbour is unaware, or unconcerned, about an issue until it affects them.

But an even greater truth feels like it’s been revealed; that even in stressful circumstances, happiness and joy still exist. Inner qualities that ebb and flow can never truly be taken away.

Yet, it’s clear to me that the rights of tenants to live comfortably in a happy home – a basic human need – is being exploited via the letter of the law, rather than being upheld, by the intended spirit in which the law was written.

Name withheld

Your June 2019 issue regarding the Talbot Apartments is misleading and poorly researched. The “We Rock Tenants’ Association” is not official, has not published a list of members, or conducted a proper election of officers. The person(s) interviewed were unnamed. The repeated references to “tenants’ complaints” do not appear to have been checked with tenants.

The Talbot apartments are a bright, delightful and airy spot in what is becoming a neighbourhood of high-rise condos. After 4 years I am still a happy tenant. The complex had been allowed to deteriorate, but requests to tear it down were wisely rejected. The buildings required considerable upgrading. The contractors hired by previous Management (before RealStar) were lacking and renovations proceeded slowly. The buildings are being renovated within heritage regulations, to current Toronto building codes. New technologies are replacing or combining with old systems; not a trouble-free process. Any problems we experienced were promptly rectified. Some original renovation work-permits were never signed-off by City Inspectors, causing upgrade catch-up problems.

The “Tenant’s Associations’” genesis was RealStar’s application to increase rents beyond government guidelines. Our increased rents are relatively conservative compared to some other Toronto rent increases. Tenants of Crestview Apartments recently went through a similar experience.

Some inaccuracies and biased comments:

• “…concerns about maintaining affordability in Leaside’s increasingly unaffordable market.” Toronto has the largest and fastest population growth in North America, and Leaside is a very desirable area. Yet, compared to similar rentals around Toronto, our complex provides relatively affordable rents.

• “tenants back in their apartments enjoying…Not so much.” The majority of tenants – returnees and new – are enjoying their homes.

• If/when windows are replaced, they must match the appearance of the original windows (heritage). Other outside upgrades have matched “heritage” requirements.

• These are old buildings – land settles, walls crack (even in new buildings). A crack is not necessarily unsafe.

• Basements were never planned for renovations – they host laundry rooms (new), storage lockers, and are well lit and being cleaned.

• The rent increases agreed to by all parties at the January 30, 2019 hearing, cover capital upgrades and increasing operating costs. And we have a well-maintained, large, secluded lawn and newly re-roofed gazebo for tenants’ enjoyment.

The apartments are well designed. Visitors are impressed with my abode. Tenants work to embellish their base – adding flowers etc – because they like, and are proud of, their home here.

Robi Roncarelli