Seniors community fight against modular housing project in Newtonbrook

A new modular housing complex being built in Newtonbrook is facing backlash from two nearby seniors' homes. Anita Li with The Green Line has more.

By Anita Li

Modular housing has been touted by the City of Toronto as a solution to the housing and homelessness crisis.

Close to 10,000 people in the city are experiencing homelessness and deaths among those who are unhoused have doubled in the last three years.

The City says their plan is to build 1,000 homes by 2030, which are being called cost-effective and quick to build.

One of those sites is next to two seniors’ facilities in Newtonbrook, Willowdale Manor and Cummer Lodge Long-Term Care home. But, some seniors who live there are uneasy about these new neighbours.

“COVID-19 threatened us and now this thing is our safety, that is why we object,” said 85-year-old Vincent Mak. He said the City didn’t acknowledge their concerns.

The area’s longtime councillor John Filion supports the project and said he is frustrated by the pushback he has received from detractors since it was announced last spring.

“So, the people who don’t want to have to see a homeless person in their bus shelter or their local park, what’s their solution? They don’t have one.”

Filion believes some neighbourhood groups opposing the project are misinforming seniors. He said they are using them to fight a good solution.

Willowdale Manor resident James Brown is all for the project, but said he agrees the City needs to communicate better with residents.

Mak said they are in “limbo because they didn’t consult with us ever since then till now, they might say that they did but that is false…. not true democracy.”

For now, the City is moving forward with its modular housing plans at 175 Cummer Ave., but members of the opposing neighbourhood groups said they’re working to appeal the decision.

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