On the northwest corner of Queen and Bathurst, the line between public and private space just got a little clearer -- or blurrier, depending on your perspective.
Come spring, the Meeting Place outreach facility (588 Queen West) that anchors the corner will be getting a 5-foot-tall iron fence.
"The Meeting Place provides a great service, but unfortunately its mere presence has increased drug traffic that preys upon the homeless," says Queen West Residents' Association (QWRA) founder Kathi Prosser .
The West Queen West Business Improvement Association says the $20,000 project, which will also include some trees, is about reclaiming a gateway to the Queen West neighbourhood.
"People have given up on some places," says Joe Verlezza of the BIA's police liaison committee.
St. Christopher House , which runs the Meeting Place, is still deciding which design is best, but feels a barrier is necessary.
Says executive director Maureen Fair , "There's definitely been more aggressive behaviour, which has raised tensions in the past year."
But Niko Kwiatkowski of the Toronto Public Space Committee 's Downtown De-Fence Project warns that "erecting a fence will at most reshuffle the location of illegal activities while fostering a profound sense of disconnection between those who use the services offered by St. Christopher House and the remainder of the Bathurst and Queen community."
Crime may also be up in the area, adds Howard Gerry, an Ontario College of Art and Design professor involved in QWRA, because condos recently built south of Queen have pushed drug dealers north.