Cracked walls, trash piling up

[attach]1028[/attach]The gloomy weather mirrored the glum conditions found at 1 Vendome Place, a residential building that has tenants on the phone to their municipal rep looking for reprieve.

During a Nov. 26 tour of the Flemingdon Park complex with the Town Crier, Don Valley West councillor John Parker said 1 Vendome is one of the two residences he receives the greatest number of complaints about.

The property, located near Don Mills Road, is owned by Toronto Community Housing and was recently audited by the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards Division at Parker’s request.

In March, the division launched an audit pilot program in an effort to get neglected buildings up to city standards.

The audit report tells the story of a building that was allowed to get out of hand, said Parker.

Busted light covers, cracked walls and piles of trash are all visible problems plaguing the building.

The underground parking garage doors are stuck open, inviting anything or anyone to wander in. The walls are in disrepair as are most of the lighting fixtures and a gaping hole in the plaster offers easy entry for bugs.

A quick peek into a hallway trash room belies an offensive aroma that permeates the building. The chute hangs open, and trash is
crammed beside it.

Hall carpets at 1 Vendome are discoloured and stained and the outside stairs are caked with rust spots, a sure sign they need attention, Parker says.

“There’s a general sense of neglect,” he said.

Larger structural problems like shoddy stairs and cracked walls give the property an unappealing look.

“It sends a signal that the people in charge don’t care,” Parker said.

The safety of residents is another concern.

“There’s our security,” Parker mocked as most of the doors leading into the building were left unlocked.

However, he says tenants are also responsible for inviting some of these problems into their homes by neglecting the small things like throwing the garbage down the chute.

“The building invites disrespect,” Parker says. “If it had proper maintenance, it would be a nice little enclave.”

Toronto Community Housing says they have been working hard over the past few years to improve conditions in the Flemingdon Park area. With government support, $2.5 million has been invested in local residential buildings since 2007, Toronto Community Housing spokesperson Kyle Rooks wrote in an email to the Town Crier.

He acknowledged the security problems and said that repairs have begun to remedy the situation. Contractors will be on site in early December to repair the garage, he said.

Although far from perfect, Parker says 1 Vendome looks better than it did during the summer.

“It looks like it’s getting some attention,” he says.

The large garbage piles that sat on parking spaces are gone and it looks as though some doors have been replaced.

“It will never be the Ritz Hotel,” said Parker. “But it can definitely be improved.”