Repairs in Toronto Community Housing could take two years to fix
Residents at Balmy Beach apartments relocated, wait to return home
By Kris Scheuer
(Written July 14/09 for Town Crier. Jan 13/10 UPDATE.)
Deborah Beaven wants to know when she can move back into the beachfront social housing building she has called home for almost two decades.
All tenants at 42 Hubbard Blvd. were relocated in March because of mould, although she said some left as late as May.
The city-owned Toronto Community Housing low-rise building, just steps from Kew-Balmy Beach, has been vacant since.
“I am getting calls and e-mails and (queries) on my Facebook account asking me the status of 42 Hubbard,” said Beaven, the building’s tenant rep.
“It would be nice if they cared enough to give us an update every three months so we don’t feel we’ve been forgotten,” she said.
The tenants were moved so a solution could be found, say city officials.
“They couldn’t do the repairs, it was too costly, while people were (living) there while they do the work,” Beaches-East York councillor Sandra Bussin said.All the tenants who were moved out will be allowed to return once renovations are complete, said Toronto Community Housing spokesperson Kyle Rooks.
But they could be waiting at least a year before that happens.
“We hope to renovate the building in whatever manner will allow us to move tenants back in quickly with minimum disruption to neighbours,” Rooks said. “We are investigating demolishing the interior and keeping the exterior.
“We’ve just hired an outside architect and engineer to see if that’s possible.”
After Community Housing has investigated all options, there should be a decision made later this year, he said.
“Our target is to start construction by late spring 2010. But that’s a very estimated timeline,” Rooks added.
Bussin is not as optimistic.
“It may take two years to complete,” she said.
Meanwhile, the building’s tenants are spread across the city, said Beaven.
“I’m very fortunate where I am,” she said. “I think I’m the only tenant who could stay in the Beach proper.”
“We are scattered throughout the city now,” she added. “This unit I have (now) is wonderful, but it’s not my home.”
Beaven said she is skeptical about official promises they can all move back.
“We don’t know if we are waiting in vain for promises to come forth.”