Brookfield, city agree to changes at Yonge St. and Bloor St.

TORONTO – Brookfield Properties will be leaving bikes and buskers alone Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam said Wednesday after a “productive” meeting with three executives from the property management company.

“There will be new signage that shows Brookfield does have parking, publicly accessible bicycle parking underneath their facility, and also [we will] work with the TTC to mount some additional posts and rings.”

As Global News reported, the company was removing bikes locked too close to their property at intersection of Yonge Street and Bloor Street– something Brookfield didn’t have authority to do, according to city bylaws.

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“I think there was a very clear and active acknowledgement that it was not in their purview to sweep the streets,” says Wong-Tam.

Wong-Tam and Brookfield will be holding another meeting in the near future to determine, more specifically, where the new bike posts will be installed and how many will be needed.

“I would say double what they have now, because you end up locking to trees, or to gas lines, and it’s not safe, it’s not good,” says Sheila, who was biking along Bloor Street Wednesday and noted she sometimes spends 20 minutes looking for a place to lock her bike.

The new signage will also communicate the fact that there are 40 publicly available bicycle parking units underneath the building near Yonge Street and Bloor Street.

Another issue that Wong-Tam addressed with executives from Brookfield, after a Global News report, was the treatment of Ian Sabourin, an 18-year-old busker paying his way through college. He was asked to leave the public sidewalk adjacent to a Brookfield property by three security guards last week.

“I was able to show them [Brookfield] the video on the busker and what happened when the busker was pushed to the end of the street and right away we recognized that that was overstepping their bounds, and the Toronto Police had reinforced that message along with city legal,” said Wong-Tam.
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Andrew Willis, the senior vice president of communications at Brookfield, apologized to Sabourin Wednesday.

Stephen Young, of the Toronto Public Space Initiative, says security guards do not have the right to physically remove anyone from public space.

“Public space is the realm of police officers, not security guards,” says Young who added that members of the public are entitled to do whatever they want in a public space so long as it doesn’t contravene the criminal code or bylaws.

Wong-Tam noted that “[Brookfield] will no longer be enforcing anything that they don’t have jurisdiction over, that was made very very clear; and I was very firm on that.”

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