Volume 19 Number 5 Newsletter of the Swansea Area Ratepayers' Association October 1993

YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND THE DEDICATION & OPENING of THE SWANSEA TOWN HALL 95 Lavinia Avenue Saturday, October 16, 1993 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Official dedication at 2:00 P.M.

SARA has always taken an interest in ensuring that the community is and remains viable. On many occasions we have taken positions in regard to matters of livability.

Swansea Public School
In the sixties we recognized the importance of female athletes by donating a trophy to the "Best Female Athlete". In the late seventies we started donating trophies for "Industrial Arts" and "Family Studies". In the Eighties when there was a proposal before the Board of Education to discontinue Music, Industrial Arts, and Family Studies SARA took a strong stand opposing the proposal even before the Swansea P.T.A. did. It remains our position that Swansea School strengthens our Community and in turn the interest by the Community in Swansea School strengthens it.

Early Battles
Nowhere has our consistency and willingness to ensure livability been stronger than in our support for an effective and functioning focus for the Swansea Area. In so doing we have supported community services such as the community centre, town hall and the Swansea Public School. No sooner had Swansea been amalgamated with Toronto and Forest Hill in January, 1967 than Toronto decided to sell off the Swansea Municipal Building (hereafter called "Town Hall"). Jean Roberts of SARA's executive was warned that the building was going to be sold.
SARA contacted other groups (including the Swansea Players (eventually the Bloor West Village Players), Swansea Art Club, Westside Radio Club, Swansea Women's Conservative Association, the Swansea Horticultural Society, Swansea Centennial Committee), and on March 9, 1967 the Swansea Area Community Activities Board was created to present the need to have the former Village of Swansea Village Municipal Building designated an Area Community Centre.
By the end of 1967, the City of Toronto under community pressure agreed to retain 95 Lavinia Ave. as a Community Centre and agreed to allow the S.A.C.A.B. to act as an advisory council. A model that has since been followed elsewhere in the City.
New School Building
By 1979 discussions began with the objective to upgrade Swansea Public School. Bob Lackey with Bill Roberts as his alternate were assigned to the building committee on behalf of SARA. By May of 1981, discussions began for a joint project involving the Library Board, Board of Education and the City to finance a centre at the School.

City suggested that only one of the Town Hall, the ice skating rink or the school would be upgraded. In 1981, Bill Roberts as a SARA representative on the Swansea School Building Review Committee, Al Teliatnik representing Swansea Home & School Association [now PTA] along with other members arranged a joint meeting of the executives of SARA and several groups involved with the Town Hall [Swansea Community Centre] Advisory Council and the Swansea School Building Review Committee to formulate a position in regard to the different projects.
The upshot of the meeting was an agreement to fight for keeping and upgrading the Town Hall and Swansea School. The community agreed that at a minimum the Town Hall was to be upgraded to meet fire regulations, to be accessible to the physically challenged, with access from the rear parking lot to the building and the placing of elevators in the building. It was further agreed that the Library should stay at the Town Hall, It was also agreed that the community centre to be located at Swansea School would include a gym, a 25m pool and a multipurpose room. Lastly it was agreed to have the field house upgraded within five years.
A Steering Committee with representatives from the various community groups at the meeting was created to press for the agreed position. By May of 1982, SARA along with the Swansea Horticultural Society, the Swansea School Building Review Committee and the users of the Town Hall were pressing for answers as to the future of the Town Hall. By January, 1983 Alderman Boytchuk with the support of SARA and the Steering Committee was able to persuade the City to spend $21,200.00 to upgrade the rear parking lot, make the Library accessible to the physically challenged, and

United Front (cont'd)
to put in accessible washrooms. The Steering Committee including SARA continued the pressure on the City to ensure that a 25 metre pool would be built. SARA also communicated with the Province for funding to upgrade the School. By May of 1983, the City, due to budget restraints, cut back the funding to the Town Hall. Alderman Shea, Alderman Boytchuk, Bill Roberts from SARA, and Graham Mathews from the Swansea Horticultural Society appeared before Budget Review and were able to persuade the committee to provide funds to make the building more accessible for the physically challenged.
Uncertain Future
By April of 1985, the City Parks department had declared the Town Hall unnecessary to its needs, as the first step towards a sale. Through the efforts of SARA along with other groups Involved in the Steering Committee, a committee was set up by a public meeting for the purpose of convincing the City that theTown Hall should be continued for community purposes. SARA sent William Cowling, a delegate, and Gordon MacKay, as an alternate, to the committee (which became the Interim Board of Management). Aldermen Shea and Boytchuck supported the creation of the Interim Board. SARA continued to be involved in the fight to keep the Town Hall. By December 1985 it was clear the City was considering the sale of the Town Hall. At this point in time SARA began to call the building at 95 Lavinia the Swansea Town Hall to create a positive image and name for the building.
Running Battles
In the Spring of 1986, the Parks Department moved to the new Community Centre. In the Fall, SARA went to hold its September Executive meeting at the Town Hall to find it locked. Gunars Martinsons, on behalf of SARA, contacted Alderman Boytchuk who supported our request that we be allowed to continue to meet at the Town Hall. The City agreed but refused to provide any furniture. In October, SARA's Executive met at the Town Hall using lawn chairs and card tables. By November, the Swansea Horticultural Society and the Swansea Historical Society also occupied the building.
Battle Joined
In the Fall, SARA heard a rumour that the City would be considering a request to purchase the Town Hall. SARA alone with William Cowling, Bill Roberts, Gunnars Martinsons, Dr. H. Leib and M. Cassey from the SARA; Graham Mathews from the Swansea Horticultural Society; John Woodburn from the Swansea Historical Society, and Catherine Armstrong and Al Teliatnik from the Interim Board formed an action group to combat the attempted purchase. This group was successful in obtaining a two year extension to develop a proposal for the Town Hall. In March, 1987 a new Interim Board was elected at a public meeting with a draft interim by-law. Aldermen Shea and Boytchuk supported the fight to keep the Town Hall.
Interim Board Years
Catherine Armstrong asked for the support of the Interim Board and its member groups to help start up the Swansea Area Seniors Association. SARA supported the creation of SASA. By August of 1987 several battles had been fought and won on an interim basis. Mariposa and the Metro Toronto Folk Arts Council had become tenants. The proposal call when it was completed in the late fall of 1987 contained a requirement that at least part of the Town Hall be kept for community use. The interim Board began to draft a proposal to acquire the Town Hall for community use. By April, 1988 the interim Board officially had stepped aside from making the proposal because of a possible conflict of interest. Instead a group consisting of SARA, SASA, Swansea Horticultural, Swansea Historical, Mariposa and Metro Toronto Folk Arts Council through Catherine Armstrong and John Woodburn made a formal proposal as the Swansea Town Hall Residences which included a low rise seniors building. In the late fall of 1988 the City of Toronto; after extensive lobbying by SARA, SASA, Swansea Historical, Swansea Horticultural and other groups and individuals and Alderman Boytchuk and Councillor Shea choose the Residence's bid.
Rezoning and Related issues -
Spring of'89 The Town Hall Residences continued its steps towards the rezoning and getting necessary planning approvals. The Interim Board continued the necessary steps to lay down the framework for the permanent Board of Management. SARA through its representatives on the Interim Board and on the Swansea Town Hall Residences ensured public input into the process.
Rezoning - Spring & Summer of '90
A public meeting was held in mid-January by the Town Hall Association. Several concerns were raised by the neighbours of the project and SARA through its members on the Interim Board and the Association requested that the Association address those concerns related to access, parking and density. When no one was willing to call a public meeting to deal with those concerns, SARA with the assistance of Councillor Boytchuk's Office called a public meeting to deal with the concerns of the public. SARA fought hard to ensure that the community concerns were dealt with. As a result there were agreements that ingress and egress would be from both entrances, that the properties on Durie most directly affected by shadowing would be allowed access onto the lane and that the design of the building's exterior would be made more acceptable to immediate residents. The funds from the ground lease were committed for the renovation of the Town Hall. The Interim Board developed designs for the renovation by consulting the community through public meetings. Provincial/City Battles The City and the Province had a running turf dispute as to who would acquire the Residences if there was a default. Meanwhile the Town Hall was vacated in the Spring of 1991. By December 1991 SARA was alarmed that no agreement had been reached by the City and the Province. SARA wrote letters to various government bodies and urged that theTown Hall Interim Board and that the Town Hall Residences also vigorously chase the City and the Province to end the dispute. By the Spring of 1992 in part through the efforts of SARA, Councillor Boytchuk and Elaine Ziemba, M.P.P. the loggerhead had been resolved and funds were made available to upgrade the Town Hall; however SARA was concerned that the joint emergency exit would delay the occupancy of the Town Hall.

Interim Board - Interim Battles
SARA became aware that a pillar would be left in the main meeting room in December of 1991. Gunnars Martinsons on behalf of SARA wrote to request that costing for its removal be done. SARA set up a subcommittee consisting of G. Martinsons, D. Dunal, G. Stratford and Ed Gaigalas to examine the feasibility of its removal. Through the efforts of SARA the City decided to remove the pillar. SARA became aware that the proposed by-law for managing the Town Hall would require the boundaries agreed by the Swansea Town Hall Association to be changed to allow the City to appoint anyone from anywhere in the City onto the Board.
The Interim Board under Dave Hutcheon supported the City's position and saw no point in trying to fight the City. SARA pressed for a public meeting to consider the draft By-law. At the public meeting four boundaries were discussed. The Interim Board supported the City request to allow anyone to be appointed to the Board. It was suggested from the floor that the boundary should be those of the former Village of Swansea. When a straw vote was taken two thirds of the persons in attendance voted to change the boundary of the catchment area to exclude the area not within the boundaries of the former Village of Swansea. The matter was debated at City Council with the Interim Board asking that the Council ignore the meeting's results. Members of the SARA Executive argued that the decision of the meeting should be respected. The City of Toronto Council approved the By-law creating the permanent Board of Management with a guideline that requires members of the Board to be selected from residents of the Former Village of Swansea The Minister of Municipal Affairs Dave Cook stated that the City already had the power to enforce the guidelines. SARA along with several members of the Interim Board argued that the number of staff needed to operate the building should be kept to necessary levels to avoid budget over-runs which would have to be subsidized by taxes. In addition SARA continued to support the commitment made several years ago when the City agreed to the project that, while the Town Hall should operate cost effectively, it should make some of the space available generally at no cost to community groups on a first-com-first-served basis. A public meeting to elect the permanent Board of Management was held on the 19th of November, 1992, resulting in the election of a permanent Board. Renovations were expected to be substantially completed by the end of January, 1993; however, the shared emergency exit with the James T. Bonham Residences !which was also under construction) was to delay its opening, along with other construction delays. Additional problems with deficiencies would arise, but the community now united has faced them and continues to work to make the building an effective focus for our community. Issues such as the continuance of the Swansea Memorial Library remain. A special thanks from SARA to our two councillors and all the others who helped make this progress possible.

Gordon Stratford represented SARA on the working committee reviewing the future of the library. SARA remained concerned that the level of services proposed by the Library staff would not be adequate and worked closely with Councillor Bill Boytchuk to ensure proper service would be provided. Councillor Bill Boytchuk was able to negotiate with the Library Board to have a minimum of 28 hours service.

BRIDGES It is our understanding that the Province will be holding an Investigation into the issues raised by SARA in regard to the north south routes being below the level of the Humber River.

Several letters of objection were filed from Swansea and the City is considering these proposals. Based on the directions from the community meeting, SARA established a subcommittee to consider possible uses to be permitted on Ripley Ave. The results of the meetings should be produced in a .planning report which will in turn result in a public meeting to discuss these changes.

Please remember that your membership is due now unless you have already renewed. The fees are $6.00 for individuals, $8.00 for family, and $10.00 for businesses per year. Please contact L. Gris at 766-2792 to renew. We have held the fee for the last three years despite increasing costs. See back page for application/renewal form. Editor- Bill Roberts

Advisory Committee Gunars Martinsons Sybil Wilkinson