Toronto Community Housing and the City of Toronto unveil emerging plan for
Lawrence Heights revitalization

TORONTO, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - Toronto Community Housing, along with Mayor David Miller, today unveiled the draft revitalization plan for the Lawrence Heights community.

"Through revitalization projects like this, we are seeing a return to tested and true neighbourhood planning principles that can address the design challenges and social isolation of the community while improving the quality of housing for residents," said Mayor David Miller. "The revitalization of Lawrence Heights is an important city building project as we move to create a greener, more sustainable city."

Built in the 1950s, the buildings in Lawrence Heights are aging and require significant investment simply to bring them up to a good state of repair. Access for cars and pedestrians is difficult due to the winding streets and poor design.

Part of the Lawrence-Allen Secondary plan led by the City, the revitalization plan will gradually transform the 100-acre community into a mixed-income and mixed-use community that replaces all 1,208 social housing units and adds 4,300 to 4,800 market units. The plan includes new retail, parks, schools and community facilities, along with a mix of housing types and uses - traditional townhouses, mid-rise apartments and high-rise apartments.

Construction could start by late 2011. All together, the revitalization process will take about 20 years.

All 1,208 existing Toronto Community Housing units will be replaced and the 3,500 people who live in the 100-acre community will have the right to live in the revitalized community. Toronto Community Housing will provide supports and cover costs for moving.

"Toronto Community Housing is committed to building great neighbourhoods and providing quality housing for tenants," said David Mitchell, Chair of Toronto Community Housing's Board of Directors. "A large part of that commitment is the revitalization of existing neighbourhoods, such as the successful revitalization process ongoing in Regent Park. We are continuing this commitment through the revitalization of the Lawrence Heights neighbourhood."

"Revitalization is about much more than just replacing housing that is in poor repair," said Keiko Nakamura, CEO of Toronto Community Housing. "We're using the opportunity to incorporate green technology into new buildings and work with partners to improve parks, schools and transit and increase local jobs, training and community services. It will also mean the community has access to shops and services."

Since officially launching the revitalization process in June 2008, Toronto Community Housing has been working with the City of Toronto to engage residents, community agencies, neighbours and other partners in the revitalization planning process. The plan reflects input gathered from those audiences during numerous large forums, open houses, community conversations and tours.

"This is an exciting day for Lawrence Heights because this plan shows the way toward delivering positive change for the community," said Councillor Howard Moscoe.

"City Planning staff has worked in partnership with Toronto Community Housing and the Toronto District School Board and other area landowners to create an exciting new, sustainable and parks-focused community in the Lawrence-Allen area," said Gary Wright, City of Toronto Chief Planner. "It's investments like these that will bring a renewed sense of excitement to the City's landscape."

"The community has come a long way during the planning process. At the beginning there was some uncertainty but because there have been so many chances to give input into the plan there is now so much hope and confidence in the plan for Lawrence Heights," said Abdi Mohamoud, a Lawrence Heights tenant. "People are happy that the plan will not just fix our homes but will include new opportunities (like jobs and programs for young people) and add things like retail that will make our community like any other neighbourhood."

About Toronto Community Housing

Toronto Community Housing (www.torontohousing.ca) is Canada's largest social housing provider and home to more than 164,000 tenants with low and moderate incomes - about six per cent of the City of Toronto's population. Toronto Community Housing employs 1,400 staff in a broad range of jobs who deliver its mandate to provide quality housing and build great neighbourhoods. Toronto Community Housing is one of Canada's 2009 Top 100 Employers.

About the City of Toronto

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE Toronto Community Housing Corporation

For further information: For further information: Kyle Rooks, Media Relations, Toronto Community Housing, (416) 981-4347, kyle.rooks@torontohousing.ca; Bruce Hawkins, Senior Communications Coordinator, City of Toronto, (416) 392-3496, bhawkins@toronto.ca

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Toronto Community Housing Corporation

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