FAQ: Petition for moratorium on new bars in the area



Interim Control Bylaw Petition: Frequently Asked Questions

What it the petition about?
We are asking the councillor to institute a temporary moratorium on new bars in the area, and to investigate a long-term way to address the issue of bar concentration in our neighbourhood. This is something that has been done in several other neighbourhoods in the city.

How much have things changed in our neighbourhood?
Since 2004, around ten new bars have either been opened or dramatically re-launched in the four blocks between Dovercourt and Gladstone. What was once a quiet area is now quickly turning into a busy night-time entertainment district, with a total licenced capacity of around 2000 people.

Isn’t bar density just a fact of urban life?
Many cities have regulations limiting the number of bars, or total capacity, that can open in a given area. In New York, for example, there is a law stating that no more than 3 bars can open in a single 500 foot area unless the community can be persuaded that a new bar is in the public interest. For comparison, there are now around ten bars within a little over 500 feet of the corner of Queen/Beaconsfield.

I like the bars, and I like the bar owners.  I don’t want to hurt their business.
Many members of our group are regular customers of many of the bars in the area, and friends with the owners and staff. We think it’s great to have some bars in our neighbourhood, and recognize the positive contributions many of the bars have made. But we also believe the sheer number of bars in this neighbourhood is becoming a problem. No matter how responsible bars try to be, it’s a problem having so many people partying in one small neighbourhood. This petition isn’t about creating any trouble for existing bars, or about saying bars are bad. It’s about saying that adding more bars to this neighbourhood isn’t good idea right now.

If you don’t like noise, why don’t you move to the suburbs?
Some people have suggested that by living downtown, neighbours forfeit the right to a good night’s sleep. We think this idea is anti-urban, as it suggests that downtown should be turned into an entertainment zone, where people from the suburbs can come to party, and then go home to sleep. We believe that it’s important for Toronto to have a vibrant core, where people can live, that supports a mix of uses. We understand that city life is a bit louder here than in the suburbs, and we like that, but we also insist that in a lively downtown mixed-use core, people still need to be able to sleep at night.

Many cities use zoning, license density regulations, and effective noise bylaws to encourage nightlife to thrive, while protecting the residential functions of mixed-use neighbourhoods. (In Berlin, for example, new nightclubs must submit noise-impact plans to demonstrate that they will not aversely affect neighbours.) We think it’s important for neighbours to take responsibility, and to have a say in what happens in their neighbourhoods.

Doesn’t the Alcohol and Gaming Commission look after this?
In theory, the AGCO is not supposed to issue licences when they are not “in the public interest”. In practice, it seems they always issue new licences when they are applied for. The AGCO has not been responsive to residents concerns about the concentration of bars in the area.

Don’t bars create jobs and help the local economy?
Of course. But so do other businesses. We’d love to see other sorts of businesses open in this area, that support neighbourhood residential life. Our hope is that a temporary moratorium on new bars would encourage other businesses to open.

Howe many people feel this way? Does a petition unfairly emphasize one opinion?
Our impression is that many neighbours feel the number of bars in the area is having a really negative impact on the people who live here. We’d be really interested in getting a fair assessment of how many neighbours feel this way. On numerous occasions, we’ve discussed with the councillor’s office of conducting a neighbourhood poll on this issue, but such a poll has been very slow in coming.

Are you trying to ban bars altogether? Aren’t there better solutions?
Many neighbours have been working with the councilor’s office, and communicating with the AGCO, for the past couple of years, trying to find a solution. Given existing regulations, the Interim Control Bylaw is the best solution we’ve found. The Interim Control Bylaw doesn’t affect the existing bars. Also, the bylaw is temporary, and is meant to give the city to conduct a study. The idea isn’t to ban bars forever, it’s to temporarily put a hold on new bars, during which time the city can examine the issue, consult the people affected, including residents, bar owners, and other businesses, and develop a better solution.

Who’s behind this petition?

The Queen/Beaconsfield Residents Association is a very informal network of neighbours, with an email list of around 150 members who live, work, or own property in and around this area. Some members are fairly new to the neighbourhood, while others have lived here for as long as fifty years. The group includes homeowners as well as tenants, artists, parents, professionals, local businessowners, and all kinds of people, all concerend about this impact of bars in this neighbourhood.

I want to help more. What can I do?
We’ll be continuing our petitioning campaign. If you’d like to get involved, send us an email at QueenBeacRes@gmail.com , or call us at 416-328-6327. There are lots of ways to help.

This petition was organized by members of the Queen/Beaconsfield Residents’ Association, an informal group of neighbours around the Queen/Beaconsfield area who are concerned about the concentration of bars in this neighbourhood. We maintain a mailing list, and would very much like to get more neighbours signed up for it. It’s a pretty low-traffic list, with maybe 3 or 4 messages a month at most. To sign up, send an email to QueenBeacRes@gmail.com.  Please get in touch- we’d love to hear from you.

One Response to “FAQ: Petition for moratorium on new bars in the area”

  1. Petition for moratorium on new bars « Queen/Beaconsfield Residents Association Says:

    […] can read an FAQ about the petition here. (Portuguese version coming […]

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