Toronto.com: Weston residents, ACORN rally to fight gentrification

Posted March 15, 2018

The local chapter of Toronto ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is ready to raise a ruckus in opposition of the gentrification of Weston Village.
 
The group is hosting a march for "an affordable Weston" on Saturday, March 24, starting at noon. It will start at 1705 Weston Rd., the site of a proposed 25-storey mixed use tower, and proceed north to what’s known as the neighbourhood’s only affordable grocery store, Greenland Farm Supermarket, at 1966 Weston Rd.
 
“We believe the neighbourhood should be modernized. Slumlords should be held accountable for the places they have for rent,” Carla Scott, chair of the local chapter, told the Guardian. “The government should ensure that buildings are kept up to livable standards.”
 
The area should be modernized — not gentrified. With gentrification comes unaffordability, Scott said.
 
“Mid-to-low income people wouldn’t be able to afford to live here. We don’t want people getting pushed out,” she said. “Any buildings that go up in the area, we need them to be affordable.”
 
ACORN acknowledges the fact that Weston is attracting developers, which it says is “not necessarily a bad thing.” However, it’s imperative that this development is completed in a way that doesn’t uproot the low-to-moderate income residents who call the community home.
 
“We don’t want people to be displaced,” Scott said.
 
The Weston chapter of the independent national organization is demanding that new condo developments have an affordability mandate ensuring no Weston resident is displaced as a result of any new building.
 
“We want local business to stay in the neighbourhood,” Scott said. “When these new condos go up, we’d like them to include not only affordable housing, but spaces for affordable, accessible child care.”
 
Developers should also take into consideration the community’s public spaces, its parks, and community centres.
 
“They need to keep the green spaces that exist,” Scott said.
 
ACORN is calling on developers building in the neighbourhood to employ those who live here.
 
Toronto ACORN was founded in 2004 when tenants in Weston-Mount Dennis rallied to take their slumlord to task and won $250,000 in rent abatements.
 
To find out more, visit www.facebook.com/torontoacorn.
 
 
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Article by Lisa Rainford for Toronto.com