York Quay Neighbourhood Association covers Toronto’s iconic Central Waterfront, with members in every building. YQNA is actively engaged in what shapes our neighbourhood – traffic, transit, planning, cultural and social events, policing, environment, noise, businesses, and the great urban renewal transforming Queens Quay. YQNA welcomes all residents to participate, share their ideas and enjoy our events.
The Licence Appeal Board last week released its decision in the dispute about a new liquor licence at Rebel nightclub and its outdoor patio Cabana Pool Bar. It’s mostly a win for local residents and the Islanders. I represented YQNA.
The nightclub already has a liquor licence allowing a lot of people and amplified music outside on the patio until 11 pm Thursday through Saturday nights. It sought a new liquor license allowing a lot more people inside and outside (the application was originally for 15,000 people altogether), and longer hours and fewer restrictions on amplified music outdoors. Residents objected mainly to the amplified music and the huge numbers. The nightclub would then totally dominate the harbour and eastern waterfront.
At the 17-day hearing, the nightclub pared back its request for more patrons somewhat. The evidence was mostly about music disturbances on the Island. The upshot was mostly good news: the Tribunal ruled no amplified music on the patio at all (a big change from before), no increase in numbers on the patio, but some increase in the number of patrons inside was allowed.
An article in the Toronto Star (Aug. 26, 2018) is focused on police concerns about safety around the club, which leaves large crowds late at night in an area that is without transit.
Weirdly, the nightclub still has the old licence; it seems it can choose between the one it already has and the new one ordered by the Tribunal, which had no jurisdiction to set aside the old licence. The wording of the statute, the Liquor Licence Act, leaves something to be desired.
The nightclub has appealed to the Divisional Court.
Former co-chair and solicitor for YQNA
The Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario (DSAO) helps the disabled get out on Toronto Harbour in specially-designed sailboats all summer. It’s a great charity in the middle of YQNA’s neighbourhood. Come visit DSAO at the Harbourfront slip at Queens Quay and Rees Street.
There are lots of programs for both adults and kids. They are run by students, and supported by lots of enthusiastic volunteers, many from our neighbourhood.
Thanks to the generous support of donors and sponsors, the cost to a disabled person is only $15 per sail, plus a $50/yr membership.
But paying the staff and maintaining the boats costs money! The DSAO is grateful for any contribution. You can make a secure online donation to DSAO through CanadaHelps.org. A tax receipt will be issued to you from the Canada Helps website.
The DSAO also needs volunteers. You don’t have to know how to sail; the association needs helpers on land too. To find out how you can help, please visit DisabledSailingOntario.com.
YQNA is at the center of a city-wide protest against a Waterfront nightclub that would be the largest in the world with a capacity of more than 15,000 people. That is if the Powerhouse Corporation is granted a liquor license from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). Lengthy upcoming hearings at the AGCO Tribunal start February 9 and are open to the public.
Powerhouse Corporation’s Licence Appeal Hearing starts February 9, 2017 at 9:30 am in the Tribunal’s Offices in Toronto at 20 Dundas St. W., 5th floor. Hearings will continue if necessary on February 10, 13 and 14 and March 20, 21, 30 and 31, 2017.
The co-chair of YQNA, Edward Hore, is working pro bono as our lawyer and is submitting written protests to this outsized club — from city councillors, neighbourhood associations, condo boards, Waterfront developers and businesses. Residents on the Islands near the site are represented by lawyer Robert Tanner. Ken Greenberg, prominent urban designer of the Port Lands, says this monster club is the biggest threat to the Waterfront so far, exceeding others that residents fought off, such as a jet airport, casinos, box retail stores and a Ferris Wheel.
This club application — which would top the world’s largest nightclub in Spain for 10,000 people — almost went unnoticed by the public. The club is currently called Rebel and is where the former Docks club lost its liquor license years ago in a similar imbroglio with the public. When YQNA learned the application details through councillor Pam McConnell from club owner Charles Khaboult of the Powerhouse Corporation, we started a successful campaign to engage the media. CBC TV and Radio gave extensive coverage as did The Globe and Mail. People were shocked at this news, to say the least. This mega-club would put Waterfront renewal plans for the Port Lands at risk and cause serious social, traffic and noise issues.
The enormous scale of this nightclub is not just a local Waterfront issue. It concerns millions of people who use the Waterfront as their “cottage country.” The Waterfront is also home to a growing mixed-use community that comprises North America’s largest urban renewal project under the auspices of Waterfront Toronto. To protect our precious Waterfront, you can sign this petition from the newly formed Waterfront For All — and spread the word to your friends!
YQNA is among the founding members of the new umbrella organization Waterfront for All. The proposed naturalization and flood-proofing of the Don River mouth was the focus at the launch of Waterfront for All on Oct. 20, 2016. The flood protection will unlock 75 acres of natural habitat — wetlands, uplands and aquatic habitat — and protect 600 acres of land from flood risk.
“The revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront is not complete without a naturalized Don River mouth and the transformation of the Port Lands,” says Ed Hore, chair of Waterfront for All. “Waterfront Toronto, the leading agency, makes a compelling case for all three levels of government to finally move ahead with secure funding the Port Lands flood protection.”
The new umbrella organization is growing as groups from across Toronto are invited to join. Any individual or group can sign up on the website www.waterfrontforall.ca and get news about Toronto’s Waterfront, the largest urban renewal project in North America. Ideas and support from all over the city are needed to grow new neighbourhoods and public spaces from Etobicoke to Scarborough.
Waterfront Toronto (WT) successfully leads the revitalization, winning many international awards for completed projects. Queens Quay on the Central Waterfront, for example, is a huge attraction for residents of the GTA and visitors. CEO of WT, Will Fleissig says: “Everyone in Toronto has two neighbourhoods, their own and the Waterfront.” Another good reason to be part of Waterfront for All!
John Campbell is stepping down after 12 years as CEO of Waterfront Toronto (WT). He has navigated many beautiful projects through choppy waters on the Waterfront, and has prepared for new developments as far as the Port Lands. John’s tremendous business skills and diplomacy made him a perfect leader of what is North America’s largest urban renewal project. His popularity reached into the Waterfront communities, where he engaged residents and businesses in the planning of parks, streets, WaveDecks, Queens Quay redesign, boardwalks and new buildings in precinct plans. Our ideas were welcomed, as we soaked up lots of knowledge during hundreds of hours in committees and public and private meetings.
YQNA decided to throw a farewell party for John on a warm September evening on the pool deck of the Radisson Admiral Hotel overlooking the lake. Five other neighbourhood associations joined as hosts – from Gooderham Warts, West Don Lands, St. Lawrence, Toronto Islands and Bathurst Quay – as well as the Waterfront BIA. A large crowd of residents, business owners, planners, civil servants, politicians, architects and developers paid tribute to John.
Among the gifts was a new song, “T.O. the Waterfront,” created by local artists Michael Colgrass and Anna Prodanou. It was dedicated to John and performed by the WBIA’s Singing Ambassadors. Hear the song with Waterfront clips on YouTube. Another gift from residents was a one-of-a-kind book of images, collected from many sources to capture the Waterfront transformation under John’s tenure. The party was a heartfelt send-off for a person who is well-liked and will remain in Toronto’s history as an important city builder. The new CEO of WT was not yet announced at this writing.