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West Scarborough townhouse plan may become new home for community hub

Agincourt Community Services rents its Chester Le facility

Scarborough-Mirror  August 2, 2018 Mike Adler 
Chester Le Community Corner

Lead artist Anya Mielniczek speaks during the unveiling of a mural at Chester Le Community Corner in 2017. A nearby townhouse development may offer the hub’s operator, Agincourt Community Services Association, a new home. – Justin Greaves/Metroland


Chester Le development

The two plazas along Chester Le Boulevard just east of Victoria Park Avenue may be torn down for a townhouse development. – Staff/Metroland

A plan for 133 new stacked condominium townhouses can offer a “permanent home” to a charity serving Scarborough’s sometimes-troubled Chester Le area, Coun. Jim Karygiannis says.

Agincourt Community Services Association operates Chester Le Community Corner, which opened as a community hub in 2013 as part of a $3-million addition to Chester Le Junior Public School.

The City of Toronto leases the hub and a daycare downstairs from the Toronto District School Board, and in turn ACSA pays the city a below-market rent.

In 2017, when its five-year sublease was renewed, it was estimated the United Way agency would pay the city $316,785.02 over that term, plus HST and other operating costs.

At a July 30 community meeting on the townhouses, which would replace nearby commercial plazas at 3453 Victoria Park Ave. and 50-68 Morecambe Gt., Karygiannis said he promised ACSA, which “is trying to make ends meet,” he would see its hub costs reduced.

The townhouse proposal includes indoor space ACSA and the Chester Le community can use, he told area residents.

The city could find another paying tenant for the 5,126-square-foot Community Corner space, said Karygiannis, who added the developer was willing to pay $1.8 million in Section 37 contributions for increased density.

Karygiannis said this could improve the adjacent park playground and extend lighted paths from Chester Le Boulevard to Pharmacy Avenue.

When a woman suggested a splash pad, Karygiannis said, “That’s something we can look at.”

Some residents still questioned how the development would help the area, which contains a Toronto Community Housing complex that has seen flare-ups of violence.

Wayne Su noted four years ago one of the plazas had a small supermarket, which was convenient for residents. “This project will make our lives worse,” he said.

Esosa Egharevba, going into Grade 11 this fall, asked Karygiannis if the developer was willing “to scrap this proposal and take input from the community on something we need, other than just housing?”

Later, she said younger residents don’t have a gym or “a free-form space” where they can meet.

Laura Harper, senior program manager for ACSA, said the charity will engage Chester Le about its needs.