Yonge Street Mission coming into Chinatown

“央街使命”欲让“街头青少年”远离央街,并计划将其服务中心迁至士巴丹拿街。此举引发华裔社区强烈抗议,Bob Mok的文章继续向读者展示这一极富争议的项目所引发的论战。
Yonge Street Mission plans to move “street youth” away from Yonge Street, and plans to move their facilities onto Spadina Ave. Bob Mok’s article continue to shed light on the controversy of the project that sparks strong protest from the Chinese community.
For an earlier article on this topic, please visit http://096.ca/news/628140

Last time, we talked about the Yonge Street Mission (YSM) selling their current location at Yonge and Gerrard Street to a Condominium developer and planning to move their services into the Chinatown area on Spadina Avenue. The announcement to move into the Chinatown district was made on November 17, 2015.


The Toronto Chinatown Business Improvement Area (BIA) opposed this proposed relocation of YSM. On December 30, 2015 the BIA held a joint meeting with the Confederation of Toronto Chinese Canadian Organizations announcing their intentions to bring an injunction to stop this project. They argue that the building purchases were not made public earlier and there were no consultations with the Community until after the decision was made.


Ward 20 Councillor Joe Cressy and the CEO of YSM Angie Draskovic both stated that there is no need for a zoning application and YSM has no legal hurdles to jump over prior to the commencement of their operations on Spadina Avenue. 


On Tuesday January 5, 2016 about 50 demonstrators with placards saying “No YSM” marched from the Chinatown Centre to City Hall  and chanting “save Chinatown!” along the way. YSM closed the deal for the buildings on January 8, 2016.

2016年1月12日,市议员周凯捷在位于格兰芝路的University Settlement House的一小房间内主持召开了“央街使命迁址项目公众咨询会议”,当天有80多人蜂拥参加此次会议,我也是其中之一。

Councillor Joe Cressy organized a “Yonge Street Mission Relocation Public Consultation meeting” on January 12, 2016 and more than eighty people crowded into a small room to attend at the University Settlement House on Grange Road, including myself. 


At the onset, Councillor Cressy stated that YSM’s relocation is a “Done deal” and that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss what the Chinatown Community has to do to accommodate its existence. The meeting agenda included an introduction of the YSM services by its CEO, followed by the Chair of the Downtown Yonge BIA praising the value of YSM and its great relationship with them while they are on Yonge Street. Finally, comments were made by Chris Brillinger – Excecutive Director of Social Development, Finance, and Administration at the City of Toronto.


One revealing statement made by Chris Brillinger was that the City actually wants to move “street youths” away from the Yonge Street Area. That may well be one of the reasons for the City of Toronto to support this YSM relocation.


Only twelve people elected to speak from the floor and I was one of them. Since YSM tried to convince everyone that their services are needed in the Chinatown district, I asked them to provide statistics on the number of clients that will be moving over from their current location and the number of new clients expected. If their services are so badly needed here, why did they not move into Chinatown all these years? 


A friend of mine who was a Downtown Police Officer for over two decades told me this recently: “Many of the Downtown street youths are chemically dependent and in need of psychological help. Many have fixed routines and daily visiting schedules to all of the help and service centres for different services. They are keen on going to where all the good meals are offered by the centres and will follow the organization when it is relocated, including YSM.”


According to YSM, Evergreen served 6,750 youth in 2012-13. This statement is very impressive but one can imagine the number of visitors on a per day basis and many of them will return to the centre on a repetitive basis. Majority of these visitors will now flood into their new location on Spadina Ave unless arrangements are made and they can be convinced to go to other centres for help.


Next time, we will follow up on the reactions, events, and discussions relating to this relocation.  

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