Councillor says it’s time stop ‘picking on Lawrence Heights’ as gun violence runs rampant
Despite a rash of gun violence in Lawrence Heights, local councillor Mike Colle says it’s still a safe place to live.
“This gun violence is happening all over the city, even on The Bridal Path. You can’t just say it’s Lawrence Heights’s problem, this is the city’s problem. This is a provincial problem. It’s a federal problem,” explained Colle while taking Global News on a tour of his riding.
“Let’s not just pick on Lawrence Heights.”
Colle, who has been in politics for decades at the provincial and municipal levels, said it’s important all elements of the multi-million dollar Lawrence Heights revitalization project are implemented. It includes vibrant mixed-income housing, new parks, retail space and upgraded schools. It’s a 15-year-plan that could help to polish the area’s tarnished reputation.
“We can’t ask the police to take care of all of this. They’re doing a great job, but we need to build communities, build centres, build better schools, better services, and that’s what the community hub represents,” he said.
The plan also includes $500,000 in scholarships for children living in Lawrence Heights and $3.5 million worth of resident employment and training.
“There’s something here that people can be proud of and be proud to live here. That’s what we’re trying to build,” added Colle.
He said the success of the revitalization project hinges on whether or not a new, $42-million community centre is built — one that could better serve the residents who live here. But that project could end up shelved after the provincial government held back on a funding commitment made by the former Ontario Liberal government before the 2018 election.
The federal and municipal governments also were called on to be funding partners of the project.
Those who live in the neighbourhood appear to be on board, always looking for more kid-friendly activities.
“The kids they really like to play in the park and on Tuesdays they have the kids craft. In the back area there’s a garden, a farm over there, and he really enjoys that,” explained Ranjana Vashitha, a mother who lives in Lawrence Heights.
Meanwhile, there are signs the City of Toronto is trying to clean up the area. The grass is freshly cut, garbage is being picked up, and there isn’t even a piece of trash littering Caledonia Park.
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