All Posts Tagged With: "Oshawa"
Students in a classroom at Durham College in Oshawa, Ont. found a loaded .45 calibre handgun inside a backpack left behind by a fellow student just before noon on Tuesday, say Durham Regional Police. Later in the day, 25-year-old student Dominic Chong of Sullivan Drive in Ajax was charged with several weapons offences. The gun was previously reported stolen from Toronto.
I’m always pleased to learn when an university opens a satellite location in an urban core. Having visited Brantford, Ontario a few times recently, I’ve seen first hand the revival Laurier’s Brantford campus has spearheaded. Hopefully, Oshawa will enjoy the same benefits from UOIT’s new downtown campus.
I’m always pleased to learn when an university opens a satellite location in an urban core.
Having visited Brantford, Ontario a few times recently, I’ve seen first hand the revival Laurier’s Brantford campus has spearheaded.
Hopefully, Oshawa will enjoy the same benefits from UOIT’s new downtown campus.
newsdurhamregion.com ran a story today on the failure of Oshawa’s controversial anti-student housing bylaw. As predicted, the bylaw has created a student housing crisis with only 11 houses near the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College being approved by the city. The city received 201 license applications, however, they only approved 11 [...]
newsdurhamregion.com ran a story today on the failure of Oshawa’s controversial anti-student housing bylaw.
As predicted, the bylaw has created a student housing crisis with only 11 houses near the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College being approved by the city.
The city received 201 license applications, however, they only approved 11 licenses.
It is estimated that over 500 rental houses are located near the university and 2,500 students are currently residing in those houses.
With an estimated 300 landlords ignoring the bylaw, the city is facing a problem.
With thousands of students living in illegal houses facing eviction, the city is considering granting another reprieve from the full brunt of the bylaw. The student union is demanding a guarantee that students will not be removed from their houses during the school year. On the other side, local resident homeowners are opposed to any reprieve.
During the rush to pass the anti-student housing bylaw, the City of Oshawa was repeatedly warned of the consquences of their actions and told they were creating a housing crisis. Surprise, the housing crisis is here and once again, the City seems to be rushing to find a band-aid to cover up its own poor planning.
While the city considers a reprieve, the local developer Tribune Homes and some resident homeowners are threatening further legal action to force the city to enforce the bylaw.
At least one person isn’t happy that a ‘student apartment’ building will be located near UOIT
A group calling itself “concerned Niagara citizens” is distributing a flyer complaining about a proposed apartment building for students.
Apparently there is at least one individual who is not satisfied that students are being driven out of the neighbourhoods surrounding the University of Ontario Institute of Technology by the city’s new student housing bylaw. (The city says the bylaw is not actually targeting students.)
Now, they must be kept from living near the community. (The apartment building will be located on a main street near the campus. The community borders the campus.)
Do these people realize how great a place they live?
Their biggest problem is an influx of educated young people – there are communities that would pretty much sell their soul to the devil to have this “problem.”
Here’s the other thing I don’t get in a lot of these “town and gown” fights – the areas surrounding universities have high property values. The people who move into these areas are making above average wages, many of them are professionals. These means they went to university – why is it they are surprised to learn that universities have students and that students live near universities.
Common sense folks!
Ontario’s chief human rights commissioner warns City of Oshawa about new housing bylaw
The student association representing students at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College is encouraging students to file human rights complaints against the City of Oshawa after a city committee passed a bylaw which will restrict student housing in the area surrounding the UOIT/DC campus.
The new proposed bylaw would limit the number of bedrooms within rental houses in the area surrounding the university to four, regardless of the size of the house. Landlords will have to pay a $250 per bedroom annual licensing fee and carry increased insurance. The policy change has is the result of a nasty year of town-and-gown conflicts that culminated with police raids on student housing in the fall.
"Mayor Gray and the Oshawa City Council haven’t listened to a word that students have said. Now they have declared student renters to be second-class community members and we will have to follow by-law regulations that other Oshawa citizens do not," said Fraser McArthur, president of Durham College and University of Ontario Institute of Technology Students’ Association.
The Canadian Federation of Students opposes the bylaw and is concerned that similar bylaws will be passed by other Ontario cities with large student populations.
"Imposing unreasonable restrictions will result in fewer affordable rental units available and new landlord fees and inspection costs will be downloaded onto student renters," said Jen Hassum, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario. "By driving up the rental costs and reducing housing options in student neighbourhoods, it looks like the Oshawa City Council is trying to run students out of town. From where students stand, this looks like blatant discrimination."
Ontario’s chief human rights commissioner Barbara Hall weighed in on the bylaw. In an open letter sent to the editor of the Toronto Star prior to this week’s vote, Hall warned the City of Oshawa to reconsider its bylaw. "I urge Oshawa City Council members to look closely at what has been proposed, to apply a sound city-wide planning rationale, and to consider the human rights impact of its decision," Hall stated in her letter.
The UOIT/DC students association has taken the letter has an indication that human rights complaints against the city for age discrimination will be successful and has begun the process of filing complaints on behalf of students.
The bylaw will be formally passed by Oshawa City Council on February 18.
Students versus the world, Sept. 20, 2007
Police raid student houses in Oshawa, Oct. 31, 2007
Oshawa may charge student-area landlords up to $1000 annual fee, Jan. 4, 2008
Oshawa Council backs down on controversial housing bylaw, Jan. 16, 2008
Oshawa moves closer to removing students near university, Jan. 23, 2007
Bylaw targetting students will leave 500 homeless according to student association
The city of Oshawa has moved one step closer to enacting a controversial housing bylaw that would leave hundreds of students without a place to live. On Monday the city’s development services committee approved the bylaw for city council consideration.
The new regulations would limit the number of bedrooms in houses, close to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College, to four, and place restrictions to keep bedrooms from comprising more than 40 per cent of total floor space.
The official goal of the bylaw is to control “density.”
Councillor John Neal, who represents the ward where UOIT is located, says the proposed bylaw does not go far enough. He wants restrictions placed on the number of houses that can be rented in the area, as well as laws requiring a set distance between rental houses. “This will bring the neighbourhood back to what it should be, what it was . . . it was quiet,” says Neal.
Students and the University both feel that the bylaw is unfairly targeting students. The university sent out a news release prior to Monday’s meeting stating that it fully supported the position of the students’ association against the bylaw.
The bylaw is the first in Ontario designed to restrict students from living in an area near a university. Many other university towns such as London and Hamilton are looking to pass similar restrictions on student housing.
The city of Oshawa denies that it is targeting students.
Read background story Oshawa Council backs down on controversial housing bylaw
Joey Coleman: Liveblogging the Oshawa meeting
Coleman blogs live at Oshawa City Council
21/01/2008 18:53:49 – at the meeting. Finally got here after getting stuck on a GO Train that was 30 minutes late.
21/01/2008 18:54:20 – the permanent residents are go in force tonight. They are unhappy.
21/01/2008 19:00:44 – applauses are not allowed. Heaven forbid a politician feel some pressure. (This case it is the anti-student faction clapping)
21/01/2008 19:01:42 – staff can exempt non-student rentals from bylaw.
21/01/2008 19:03:06 – back to the “middle of the night” renovations lines.
21/01/2008 19:04:00 – residents not happy at the three year exemption – students will still be living next the university.
21/01/2008 19:07:23 – one councillor says he would not live in a student house cause it does not have the amenities of a normal house. In other breaking news – old people have different tastes than young.
21/01/2008 19:24:20 – some parent has her kid wearing a sign saying “Keep me safe!” I would like to know how this parent would react if she found out a white collar criminal lived on the street. What would these people do if the Hell Angels decided to move in? Blow up the street with artillery? I mean, the city has already broken (executed search warrants) into houses with locksmiths to get leases because university students moved into the area. You thought Mel Lastman calling in the army to shovel snow was ridiculous wait till these people find a grow-op in their backyard. (I always thought search warrants were for criminal offenses, not the offense of going to school.)
21/01/2008 19:29:10 – one councillor suggests that the housing licensing bylaw should be extended to the rest of the city starting in three years. That is quickly shot down.
21/01/2008 19:30:11 – the generational divide is clear on Council. The young councillor is trying to allow for student housing, the rest don’t want the students near the university. My god, do these people think GM is going to be around in 30 years? I wonder how Milton feels right now watching this show, they want a new university and Oshawa doesn’t seem to want the full package.
21/01/2008 19:31:56 – can we find a way to get rid of the students without actually saying it that bluntly?
21/01/2008 19:33:10 – look at the maps! There is more land outside our no-student area. They are going to move there! Aren’t we going to expose newcomers that we are trying to get to move to Oshawa to the same problem? (The problem being students.)
21/01/2008 19:34:37 – so the same councillor who jumps when it’s proposed extending their bylaw that does actually target students to the rest of the city where students aren’t living wants the bylaw extended to the areas that the students may move? Forget Alice in Wonderland, it’s Alice in Oshawa now.
21/01/2008 19:36:30 – Reporters are evil. Actually, it’s not that we are evil, just that four of the six of us at the table are 20-something. Thank god only Superman has heat vision – cause I would be more crispy than the burnt pizza I had last night.
21/01/2008 19:39:02 – buzz word of the night “the problem” What’s the problem? I don’t know it is like the word “synergies,” people say it cause it sounds good.
21/01/2008 19:41:21 – the bylaw will be rolled out over the city eventually according to the Mayor. I am willing to bet tuition that roll-out follows the students……
21/01/2008 19:43:15 – what are we doing? Was that an amendment? Is there a motion? Man, now we have a real problem….
21/01/2008 19:44:27 – a laugh, we can’t hear the Councillor – he’s mumbling.
21/01/2008 19:46:46 – could someone call Robert already?
21/01/2008 19:49:52 – the councillors would like to do more to restrict student housing but that would be illegal. (They don’t come out and actually say it.)
21/01/2008 19:50:48 – it must be a licensing bylaw. If it were zoning, it be illegal.
21/01/2008 19:51:20 – politics at its best! Pandering…. I wonder if they have a pandering bylaw in Oshawa? I better not give them ideas.
21/01/2008 19:52:43 – we have to make sure the bylaw can stand on a challenge. We really like to do more, but we can’t.
21/01/2008 19:53:32 – the ward two councillor is pointing out the contradictions in the bylaw. Insert silly children’s song.
21/01/2008 19:55:16 – would someone think of the poor children! They are the most popular props tonight.
21/01/2008 19:56:30 – there will be “third-party groups” building student housing. Don’t call them developers… but people buying houses to rent to students are evil developers.
21/01/2008 19:57:20 – let’s play tongue twister. We can’t actually say we are targeting students cause they would be illegal.
21/01/2008 19:58:50 – I am going to skip Colbert tonight, I have got my share of political comedy.
21/01/2008 20:03:47 – doublespeak gets very confusing.
21/01/2008 20:05:28 – the citizens believe that the student houses are lodging houses. The city says they are not. Permanent residents laugh at Mayor, he asks them to show respect. Tension in the room increases. Some isolated heckling directed to Council.
21/01/2008 20:10:05 – Do these people realize the threat in their midst? All these kids will eventually be university students!
21/01/2008 20:19:17 – new buzzword – “speculators”. Seems to describe the purchase of property in the hopes of making profit from renting.
21/01/2008 20:20:33 – According to the council committee chairwoman “students are important to this city.” They sure don’t feel that way. Chairwoman: I shared a house with other students when I went to law school.
21/01/2008 20:27:46 – “98% of students in our community are good harding working people,” says one of the councillors pushing for the bylaw. “Some of the students feel they aren’t welcome …. they are.” Sure, that’s why you want to limit the number of them that can live near the university.
21/01/2008 20:30:04 – cue political speeches.
21/01/2008 20:34:06 – chair allows applauds for Councillor Neal.
Proposed changes would have forced students out of neighbourhood near campus
The City of Oshawa backed down on a controversial proposed housing bylaw when over 450 people came out to a public hearing Monday. The proposed bylaw was widely considered to be an effort to curtail the student rental market in the neighbourhood surrounding Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology to appease residents.
The move follows months of tension in the community that led the city to impose interim control bylaws, preventing renovating properties for rental purposes, and to execute search warrants looking for leases and cancelled cheques. The conflict culminated in police raids on student houses this fall.
The new proposed bylaw would limit the number of bedrooms within rental houses in the area surrounding the university to four, regardless of the size of the house. Landlords will have to pay a $250 per bedroom annual licensing fee and carry increased insurance. The policy changes were designed to answer resident complaints about noise from student rental housing, among other concerns. None of the recommendations from students or landlords were included in the proposed changes, according to critics.
Rick Cameron, a permanent resident, described his experience sharing a neighbourhood with students at Monday’s meeting. “My house is continually used as a urinal, a toilet to throw up in,” he said. He said the bylaw should be passed immediately but pushed for it to go further by limiting the number of homes in the area that can be rented to students.
But not all residents at the meeting were in support of the bylaw change. Jeff Gauthier, a resident in the area, called the bylaw “yet another example of a knee-jerk reaction with no consideration for the consequences.” He worried that students would be forced into substandard housing if pushed out of the neghbourhood. He referred to the recent murder of an 18-year-old in a rooming house. Gauthier said council “would have blood on their hands” if a student ended up in a similar situation because they could not find safe housing near the university.
One student at Monday’s public hearing said that the months of town and gown tensions have led to negative perceptions of students, which are often unfounded. Lindsay Forkun, a fourth year nursing student, recalled, “I was on the roof putting up my Christmas lights. I had two people helping me. A neighbour called the police saying that we were drunk having a party on our roof.” The police merely laughed at the incident when they arrived, according to Forkun.
Forkun said that the bylaw wouldn’t address residents’ concerns; rather, it could make things worse. “You will be creating a lot of empty space in homes,” she said. “This means there is space for people to sleep after a party, meaning they will drink more and there will be more people at parties.”
Landlords also spoke out against the motion, complaining that they had received permits and met or exceeded safety codes when building. They were particularly opposed to the ban on basement suites. One landlord threatened legal action against the city for “misleading” him when they allowed him to build his apartments.
Over the course of the meeting, council seemed to accept that there were faults with the proposed bylaw. They cancelled next week’s vote on the changes and scheduled a further discussion meeting.
Ron Bordessa, president of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, said he was relieved that the city is finally listening to students. “I think the city heard what was said tonight and are prepared to work with students.”
“You can’t turn the clock back,” Mayor John Gray said. “Some of the streets are 90 to 95 per cent student houses, it does not make sense to force them out.” He will push for changes to the proposed bylaw.
Councillor Robert Lutczyk is uncomfortable with the bylaw as-is and said he would not vote for it without substantial changes. “We are here because of irresponsible behaviour by the few,” he said.
Lutczyk questioned how the city could differentiate between students and non-students. “How do you justify that it is okay for people to sleep in a basement but it is not okay for a student to do the same thing?” he asked. “If I own my own house, I will sleep wherever I want.”
Mayor says residents want to get rid of all students
“Nothing short of getting rid of all students will appease local residents,” John Gray, mayor of Oshawa, said Friday. His city is dealing with town-and-gown conflicts between students and residents that culminated in police raids on student housing this fall and now a proposed new bylaw.
“All three groups are not happy,” Gray said, referring to the situation in the neighbourhoods surrounding the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Durham College. The area has been the target of a blitz to enforce noise and parking bylaws.
The new proposed bylaw would limit the number of bedrooms within rental houses in the area surrounding the university to four, regardless of the size of the house. Landlords will have to pay a $250 per bedroom annual licensing fee and carry increased insurance. The bylaw will be debated by city council on January 16.
The move follows months of tension in the community that led the city to impose interim control bylaws, preventing renovating properties for rental purposes, and to execute search warrants looking for leases and cancelled cheques.
Police and city officials raided 17 houses being rented by students in September. One Durham College student returned from school to find police officers, a fire marshal, and a building inspector searching her personal possessions. A locksmith had picked the locks to her rental home to gain access. Her roommate was awakened from a nap when the officials entered her bedroom to search.
Students were given no notice of the searches and houses were entered whether or not the students were at home. One student said officers searched his home for three hours, overturning his mattress and going through all of his roommate’s personal papers to try to find a lease agreement.
Fraser McArthur, president of the students’ union at UOIT/Durham, is disappointed in the proposed bylaw. “There is nothing that we were looking for in it,” he said. “Sure they consulted us by did they actual listen … looking at the document, it does not seem they did.”
McArthur wonders where students will live next year and how they will find affordable housing when many large homes will only have four bedrooms when they presently have six to nine. With a four-bedroom house paying the city $1000 a year for licensing plus the cost of insurance, McArthur figures that students will be unable to afford to live in the area.
City councillor Louise Parkes, who chairs the committee considering the bylaw, says that the city has to act to deal with an “infiltration of students into the community.”
“We have to address the health and safety issues, many of these houses have been renovated without licenses or inspection,” she said. “Some of the construction even happened at night. … Unfortunately, I guess there wasn’t proper planning [when the university was built] to address student housing.”
Parkes and Grey both say the city does not want to create a housing crisis with the bylaw and has been working to encourage development of apartment buildings for students.
In an interview last fall after the police raids, Mayor Grey was quoted as saying, the warrants were obtained as part of an investigation into alleged fire and building code violations. “This is absolutely not targeting students,” he told the Durham Region News.
But not everyone saw it that way. The University of Ontario Institute of Technology student newspaper published an editorial entitled, “Officials are in denial in regards to students complaints of discrimination.” The article pointed out that the crack down on housing bylaws is only happening in one neighbourhood of Oshawa: the rental area surrounding Durham College and UOIT campuses.
“It’s systematic discrimination against students,” one student told the Durham Region News. “We have exactly the same rights to live here as anyone else, but you don’t see the police knocking on the door of a family that has lived here for three or four years.”
A University of Western Ontario law professor told the Western Gazette, "In my 10 years of practicing criminal law, I’ve never seen search warrants executed for such a purpose," Jason Voss said. “If the search was to look for lease agreements, then I would wonder why the police wouldn’t search the home of the landlord rather than the tenant."
Oshawa’s proposed licensing regime may not go far enough for some city councillors. Mayor Grey expects that some politicians will call for a ban on student houses being close to each other. Grey says that such a move will not solve anything and would be wrong. “I am truly trying to create a safe community for everyone, homeowners and students, to live in.”
The licensing bylaw will be the first in Ontario under recent changes to municipal laws passed by the provincial government. Mayor Grey says that many other communities are watching the events in Oshawa and will likely pass their own bylaws in the future.
- with files from Erin Millar
Search warrants are systematic discrimination against students: critics
Imagine how you would feel if you woke up from a nap to find nine unexpected, uniformed people in your bedroom searching through your personal belongings. This is the challenge posed by Katherine McFadden, a scenario that closely resembles the experience of her daughter—a first-year student at Durham College in Oshawa—in the last week of September.
The student returned from school to find police officers, a fire marshal, and a building inspector searching her personal possessions. A locksmith had picked the locks to her rental home to gain access. Her roommate was awakened from a nap when the officials entered her bedroom to search.
McFadden’s daughter is only one of many students who had their houses raided by police and city bylaw officers in September. The city of Oshawa gained search warrants to enter 17 houses being rented by students to confiscate leases and rental agreements. At least 10 houses were searched.
Students were given no notice of the searches and houses were entered whether or not the students were at home. One student said officers searched his home for three hours, overturning his mattress and going through all of his roommates personal papers to try to find a lease agreement.
“I understand how frustrating it must be for nearby neighbours to have so many students living in the area,” McFadden wrote in her letter to the editor, “but surely the city of Oshawa can find a different way of combating this problem without intimidating and frightening young adults by picking the lock and entering without notice.”
David Selby, of the Durham Regional Police communications unit, neither confirmed nor denied that officers were involved in the raids. “I don’t know if I would classify them as raids,” he said. “I know we were part of the team that was working with the college and the city to reduce the number of public complaints about noise and vandalism and alcoholic issues. In terms of the actual events where people went into homes, that I don’t have that information.”
Although the city did not return phone calls from Maclean’s, local news reports quoted Mayor John Gray as saying the warrants were obtained as part of an investigation into alleged fire and building code violations. “This is absolutely not targeting students,” he told the Durham Region News.
But not everyone sees it that way. The University of Ontario Institute of Technology student newspaper published an editorial entitled, “Officials are in denial in regards to students complaints of discrimination.” The article points out that the crack down on housing bylaws is only happening in one neighbourhood of Oshawa: the rental area surrounding Durham College and UOIT campuses. The area has also been the target of a blitz to enforce noise bylaws and parking infractions, according to the editorial.
The zoning of the area surrounding campus only permits single-family detached dwellings. However, many students rent in the neighbourhood. Some students have posted their lease agreement on the outside of their door to prevent officers from entering their house in the event of further raids.
“It’s systematic discrimination against students,” one student told the Durham Region News. “We have exactly the same rights to live here as anyone else, but you don’t see the police knocking on the door of a family that has lived here for three or four years.”
Some students are concerned that the investigation will lead to evictions. One student, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “They’re not going to stop until they have the students out of here. If they think the houses are illegal, eventually they are going to have the landlords kick us out.”
In a recent interview with Maclean’s, Ronald Bordessa, president of UOIT, spoke in general about the off-campus housing situation. “The worst is over,” he said, referring to tensions between students and residents. He noted recent efforts to curtail absent landlords from purchasing homes and renting to as many students as possible.
But the student president representing students at Durham, UOIT, and Trent University’s Oshawa campus disagrees. Fraser McArthur said, “The worst is not over. The city is still working to classify rental houses near the campus as rooming houses.” If the houses are labelled “rooming houses,” the city will be able to evict the students.
McArthur says that the city has agreed not to evict students during the academic year. But that does little to comfort students who are afraid of further raids. “The city is being short-sighted,” he said. “You need young people in a community to be successful. If they continue to discriminate against students, they run the risk of chasing away their future.”
Jen Hassum, Ontario chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, is concerned that the City of Oshawa could be setting a precedent that could affect students across the province. Many cities with universities have tensions between students living in the community and residents. “These raids were directed against students,” she said. “Students aren’t criminals.”