Dawes tenants harrassed
When tenants at 500 and 608 Dawes Road pay their rent, they expect the building's management to throw in harassment free of charge.
Members of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) living in the two east-end apartment towers allege they've been harrassed for organizing a tenant union.
On April 8, representatives from the media and all three levels of government, among them area councillor Janet Davis, MPP Michael Prue and MP Maria Minna, toured 500 Dawes to check out tenants' complaints about mould, cockroaches, filthy stairwells, water damage and lax security. An elderly couple living on the third floor showed us their view of garbage piles, a soaked Laz-E-Boy recliner and discarded kids' toys.
"Half the time the water is shut off,- says tenant Donna Barnewall. "Otherwise, it's freezing cold.-
Building superintendent Gord Martin says that work on holes and water damage has been going on for the last two weeks. According to the city's newly created apartment standards website (app.toronto.ca/ApartmentStandards/home.do), about a dozen work orders have been issued by the city to 500 and 608 Dawes in the last two years.
As for the other persistent complaints, "There is a procedure that has to be followed,- says Martin, who was none too pleased with the political and media attention.
Councillor Davis promised that property standards and bylaw officers would visit next week.
Prue says he plans to stand in the legislature and continue to fight for a new Tenant Protection Act that actually protects tenants "so that guys like this don't own buildings. This place has gone completely downhill."
MP Minna suspects that the landlord, Havcare Investments Ltd. , isn't interested in fixing problems, because that would only encourage tenants to stay. According to her, most of the units are still under old rent control laws. The grand plan may be to convert the buildings to condos one day, Minna says. Maybe by then they'll have hot running water.
Ear To The Ground sell-out
A "massive clusterfuck" is what Peter Rowan, programming assistant for last September's cancelled Ear To The Ground indie rock fest, is calling the missing money saga still swirling around the failed event.
Some 5,000 $50 wristbands were put up for sale before the three days of shows slated for Exhibition Place were scrapped at the last minute.
An update posted on www.eartothegroundfest.com states that promoter Craig Logue is "committed to ensuring that every passholder and exhibitor who has requested a refund receives it." The post also notes that "the majority of our passholders and exhibitors have, in fact, received a refund."
But rants on hipster town crier site www.Stillepost.ca suggest otherwise. In fact, some folks tired of waiting (they were supposed to receive refunds in January) have filed formal complaints with the Ministry of Government Services.
But ministry spokesperson Paul de Zara says, "We have not had much success" tracking down organizers.
According to Rowan, much of the money that came into the volunteer-run festival went to deposits to book bands, which, when the festival was cancelled, none of them were obligated to return.
"There's no good way to look at what happened. But I know for a fact," he says, "that no one ran away with money."
Those who purchased tickets should not hold their breath.