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Ward 4 - Etobicoke Centre Community Centre Site Suitability Analysis

Prepared by: Derek Nawrot, Ryerson University, 500201951 For: Daniel Jakubek, GEO 714 Date: November 28, 2008

Table of Contents


Page Number

Ward 4 Introduction.................................................... Social/Economic Considerations............................... Social/Economic Characteristics (Map)..................... Transportation/Environmental Considerations........... Transportation/Environmental Characteristics (Map). Proposal..................................................................... Possible Site Locations (Map)................................... Possible Site Locations - Aerial (Map)....................... References................................................................

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Ward 4 Introduction
Ward 4 - Etobicoke Centre is located on the Western boundary of Toronto. It is defined by Dixon Rd. to the north, the Humber River to the east, Dundas Street to the south, and Highway 401 to the west. A CBC (2006) profile of the ward characterizes it is a place with tall trees and expensive homes. Although a Canada Statistics 2006 Ward Profile (City of Toronto, 2008) has not yet been uploaded to the City of Toronto website, using 2001 census data, the average household income is $92,310, significantly higher than the Toronto average of $69,125. 26.1% of the population have average household incomes of $100,000 or over compared to 18% of Toronto households. The CBC (2006) profile also describes the physical landscape as being dotted with small shopping plazas featuring coffee shops, restaurants, small shops, and ethnic grocery stores. English is the top mother tongue for slightly more than 50% of the populations, with other major tongues representing mostly European heritage such as Italian, Ukrainian, and Polish (City of Toronto, 2008). The TTC runs numerous bus routes throughout the ward and there is a subway connections on the southern fringe. Despite transportation routes servicing the major north-south streets, the majority of residents make their daily trips via car. 78% of work trips are done by auto compared to a Toronto average of 65% (City of Toronto, 2008). The ward is covered by a natural canopy of trees, many of which are classified under Toronto’s Ravine Protection Area. The Humber River is one of the city’s major rivers and natural areas extend alongside it and throughout the Ward. This is a challenge for potential development. The purpose of this report is to compose a site suitability analysis to see if there is potential to develop a new community centre in the ward. In terms of current community centres, the Ward has three: Hilltop CS, St. Marcellus CS, and on the southern boundary, Islington CS. There is also a major skating rink within the boundaries. CBC (2006) cites the main concerns for Ward residents as “lower property taxes, increased community bus frequency, reducing youth crime, and expansion of the leaf pick-up service.”


Social/Economic Considerations
In considering the Social/economic frame with regards to the community centre proposal, three categories were used 2006 Statistics Canada Census Tract information: Total Population, Average Family Income, and Number of Dwellings. The rationale of including the entire population, as opposed to specific age groups, is that all ages use community centres. Although programs vary per community centre, quite often there will be seniors and adults’ programs during the mornings and afternoons, and adults and childrens’ programs during the evening. Therefore all age categories are relevant. In determining what CTs to focus on, those that contained more than 6,000 people were considered. Typically community centres tend to be located nearer higher density areas. Although there is a high average family income, community centres are likely to be used by those in a lower income bracket as opposed to higher incomes ones who might prefer private gyms. Therefore, CTs were selected that has an average family income of under $75,000, which is significantly lower than the Ward average. Finally, in terms of housing density and the potential for community centres to be located near higher density areas, we limited CTs to those that contained more than 2,000 dwellings.

Firstly, the total population was layered with average family income. This result produced no CTs where the categories intersected. The dwelling lot layer was then added which produced a final result of two possible CTs in which to locate the community centre according to the social/ economic criteria. The results of these are displayed in the Social/Economic Characteristics map on page 3.



Transportation/Environmental Considerations
Public transportation access is one of the key considerations in site suitability. The map on Page 5 shows TTC routes servicing Ward 4. The majority of major streets are serviced by TTC bus route and most residents live within a 500m distance of routes. 250m is considered average walking distance for community centre access and this buffer was applied in determining possible locations which is shown on the potential site map on the Possible Site Location map on Page 7. Some of the main challenges to development in Ward 4 are environmentally sensitive areas. In considering the site, both Open Areas and Park Spaces were looked at. In terms of Open Areas, these provide the opportunity for development without having to redevelop land parcels that are already in use. Unfortunately, as the Transportation/Environmental Characteristics map on Page 5 displays, there are very few open spaces available in Ward 4. In considering parks, it is important to show the natural coverage currently in existence. Potential sites included those areas not covered by foliage. This eliminated the majority of larger park parcels. Furthermore, parks classified under the Toronto Ravine Protection Area were also not considered. The majority of this protected space is in the area surrounding the Humber River, but also extends through natural spines throughout the Ward. A 500m buffer was applied in determining potential Open/Park Spaces in order to consider locations that are proximate to those CTs selected in the Social/Economic study. The Transportation/Environmental Characteristics map on Page 5 provides an overview of TTC route service and Parks, Open Area, and Natural Coverage.



The following factors were considered when determining if a new community centre should be placed in Ward 4: 1. Social/Economic criteria that limited development to areas of over 6,000 people, more than 2,000 dwelling units, and an average family income of under $75,000; 2. A maximum of 250 m from a TTC stop; 3. Development in an open area or park space that was not affected by natural coverage or considered a protected area and within a 750 m buffer zone of the Social/Economic criteria; and 4. Not located near any of the other community centres. The Possible Site Location map on Page 7, and the corresponding aerial image on Page 8, are a result of the above conditions analyzed through GIS. Although there are potential sites available, there are none located within an optimal location considering the criteria above. Therefore, at this time it is recommended that Ward 4 do not proceed in the development of a new community centre, Although the criteria set out do indicate viable sites, the main deciding factor is the proximity of current community centres. The potential sites proposed all fall within a 2km radius of these. The user potential for the proposed development would likely affect users and services in existing locations. Given this overriding condition, and that residents do consider lack of current community centres to be an issue, it is beneficial to maintain the status quo.




Canadian Broadcasting Corportation. (2006). Toronto Votes - Ward 4 Profile. Retrieved electronically November 25, 2008 from: http://www, City of Toronto (2008). Toronto Ward 4 Profile. Retrieved electronically November 25, 2008 from: Ryerson University (2008). Various maps and statistical information. Retrieved electronically on vari ous days through: