Newsletter – Winter 2024

Dear HVVRA members,

As many of you know, we had a very successful Safety Meeting with police members of 22 Division and our City Counsellor, Stephen Holyday. In this newsletter, you will find valuable information to help keep yourselves, your home, and your car safer. The meeting was sold out and we thank our members for attending. Also in this newsletter are updates on bike lane consultations, High Park, and redevelopment in HVV.

Sincerely,
The HVVRA Board of Directors
February 20, 2024

Why did we hold a Neighbourhood Safety Meeting?

Humber Valley Village had 249 Major Crimes in 2023 including 53 assaults, 115 Auto thefts, and 63 Break and Enters. There have been several violent home invasions. This was a significant increase of 2022.

Summary of Safety Meeting

On Feb. 12, 2024, the HVVRA sponsored a Neighbourhood Safety Meeting for residents of Humber Valley Village. Judging from the response, the topic was of keen interest. One hundred and fifty residents attended the 90-minute meeting.

Neils Christensen, long-time Humber Valley Village resident and Past President of the HVVRA, shared his opening comments, then introduced the guest speakers, namely:

District Commander for 22 & 23 Division, Superintendent Ron Tavener
Unit Commander of 22 Division: Inspector Anthony Paoletta
Acting Staff Sgt., 22 Division: Natasha Zever
Detective Sgt 22 Division: Dusan Pravica
Community Officer, 22 Division: Constable Marco Ricciardi
Detective Constable Major Crimes Unit: Eddie O’Toole

As residents listened intently, officers from 22 Division spoke about the surge in violent crimes and car thefts in recent months in this community. More importantly, they offered a wide range of concrete steps we all can take to improve the safety and security of our homes, family, and possessions, including automobiles.

Following their remarks, Ward 2 Councillor Stephen Holyday urged residents to write city Councillors and Mayor Chow to express their personal concerns about a proposed budget short fall in funding for Police Services which threatens to reduce the number of officers on patrol, and limit resources (especially technology) to deal with the increase in crime. (Note: Since time of writing, a fully funded police budget has been approved by Council.)

When the formal part of the meeting concluded, many residents stayed behind to ask questions of the officers regarding their personal home security.

A recurring theme last night was the importance of “community involvement” first, by reviving a new version of “Neighborhood Watch”, with a focus on home security, and second, encouraging residents to speak out to all levels of government regarding issues of importance to our Community.

To view the slides prepared by Police Constable Marco Ricciardi, please click <here>

For a recording of the event (excuse the sound quality, it gets better as you go), please click <here>

Important Information for Keeping Safe

  • #1 RULE: DO NOT RESIST OR FIGHT A THIEF….it is not worth trying to protect your stuff, just protect your safety. If car jacked, get out of the car. If kids are in the back, tell them.
  • #2…if you see something or someone suspicious, call 911
    Install a panic alarm, or train family how to activate it on home alarm system
    Have a family safety plan, including what to use as a “safe room”. Plan should include grabbing your cell phone and/or having an old one stashed an plugged-in in the safe room (note….911 still works on phones with expired cell service)
  • Mount an external alarm/siren for your alarm system at the from and back of your house
  • Have “window film” installed on windows (especially ones on or beside the door) to stop smashed glass from being pushed through
  • Have good alarm system complete with glass break detectors, and TURN IT ON at night and when away
  • If someone breaks into your house and you are there, tell them where the car keys are because they probably want that
  • Install an IGLA immobilizer on your car, and move or lock the OBD port
  • Put keys in a Faraday box (blocks scanners), but leave box at front door so the thieves will find it and leave if they break into the house
  • Cover the VIN so it can’t be seen through the window (my Volvo won’t let me do that)
  • Install an aftermarket GPS tracker and/or put a couple of Apple air tags in the car
  • When you are away on vacation, have friends or neighbours park in driveway, shovel snow (including steps), brush snow of parked cars, and check for stick or tape that has been placed on door to show if anyone has come and gone
  • Use automatic lighting system to randomly (if possible) turn many different lights on and off through the night (and a bit through the day)
  • Install outside motion detector lights
  • Install lots of external cameras
  • Clean out your garage so you can park in it
  • Park in well lit areas at home and when out
  • Install a “Ring Doorbell” that rings on your phone, then you will be able to pretend your home even if you are away (“I’m on a Zoom call…just leave the package at the door”)
  • Set-up a small neighbourhood WhatsApp group
  • Organize a group of neighbours to jointly fund a neighbourhood safety patrol which has been successfully implemented by residents on Hartfield Rd., Hartfield Crt, Alderton, and Southway. For more information, email HartfieldPatrol@gmail.com

Speak Up!

At the recent Neighbourhood Safety meeting, Councillor Stephen Holyday, and the Police, urged residents to express their views, (for or against), in writing, to elected official at all three levels of government.

A single letter from a residents’ association such as HVVRA, isn’t sufficient. Elected representatives need to hear from you, individual taxpayers and, of importance to them, voters. Please offer them your feedback, positive or otherwise.

How do you feel about the 2024 city budget? Write to your councillor, the Mayor, and Premier Doug Ford, a resident of Etobicoke. Their Email addresses are:

Mayor_chow@toronto.ca
Councillor_holiday@toronto.ca
Councillor_morley@toronto.ca
Doug.fordco@pc.ola.org or Phone: 416-745-2589

(Note, first and last name are separated by _ (underscore) in @toronto email addresses.)

How do you feel about the current “catch and release” approach to violent crimes and crimes against personal property, (including the backlog of cases to be heard by Justice of the Peace (Provincial jurisdiction)? Let your MPP know at the Email addresses below:

Doug.fordco@pc.ola.org or Phone: 416-745-2589, Premier of Ontario
Kinga.surmaco@pc.ola.org MPP Etobicoke Centre
Goldie.ghamari@pc.ola.org Chair, Standing Committee on Justice Policy

If you think Canada’s Criminal Code needs strengthening (federal jurisdiction) write to your Member of Parliament at:

Yvan.baker@parl.gc.ca MP, Etobicoke Centre
Arif.virani@parl.gc.ca Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (since July 26, 2023). Represents riding of Parkdale/High Park

Upcoming Cycling Network Consultation Meeting
Feb 28, 2024

As part of Toronto’s ongoing work to build on the City’s Cycling Network Plan, City Council will be deciding on how to prioritize the 2025-2027 bikeway projects to study, build, and upgrade. Please click <here> for more information.


High Park access for all, or just for some?

The lands of High Park, totalling 399 acres, were donated to the City of Toronto in 1873 by the Howard family on the proviso that “It must be for the free use, benefit and enjoyment of all citizens.”

The park offers unique features that attract thousands of local residents and worldwide visitors (think Cherry Blossoms in the Spring) each year. Moreover, it provides many popular outdoor recreational facilities including skating, hockey, swimming and splash pads, off leash dog park and forest trails, miles of hiking trails, paygrounds, a zoo, outdoor theatre, a quaint restaurant… And the list of attractions goes on.

High Park was closed to vehicles in early 2020, during the height of Covid, and since then, has remained closed on weekend and statutory holidays, to vehicular traffic. More than half of the parking spaces have been removed. Vehicle access to the park at the corner of Bloor and High Park is now closed with a Road Closed sign. Access is only off of Parkside Drive, and that access is poorly marked. This has resulted in significantly reducing access and enjoyment of High Park for thousands of citizens, notably the elderly, the handicapped, and families with young children and their sports equipment.

Currently, only the ‘fit’ can access the park on weekends, including hundreds of cyclists who race around the park at high speeds.

Recently, City Council voted to continue the current closure and work towards year-round closure by 2027.
What do you think?
Petition can be found <here>

Redevelopment Update

Edenbridge on The Kingsway: Construction is running smoothly on the site, formerly home to an LCBO and Bulk Barn and part of Humbertown Shopping Centre. The retail shell of this mixed-use development is complete, and the retail envelope is almost finished. The 5th level structure is complete, with formwork underway on Level 6. Precast installation began in December 2023 and is progressing well. Interior finishing is slated to begin later this year. Occupancy is tentatively scheduled to begin in the late summer of 2025.

Aberdeen on The Kingsway 293 The Kingsway: This 9-storey condominium complex is complete and occupied.

Bloom 9 St. Steven’s Court: Complete. Some units are still available in this 6-storey replacement rental building.

To continue to receive newsletters and important information from your resident’s association, please renew your membership now for 2024. Fees remain the same at $30 per house or $10 per apartment. This small fee enables us to operate and help advocate to protect the character of our neighbourhood. The more members we have, the louder our voice. Please renew today!