CRBA questions safety after Annie’s incident: Pan Am Path repurposed

Siobhan Geary–

A recent shooting at Annnie’s Bar and Grill sparked a heated debate at the Corktown Residents and Buisness Association’s (CRBA) meeting on April 5 as residents discussed how they stand to be affected by the state of the local bar.

On April 3, 27-year-old Julian Weekes had been shot and killed outside of Annie’s, a bar located at Queen and Parliament and a number of Corktown residents consequently raised concerns about the neighbourhood’s safety.

While most residents in attendance believed that the local bar and its clientele are not currently making a positive impact on the neighbourhood, what should or can be done about the situation was up for debate.

Some residents suggested the CRBA push the city to close the local bar down the next time its liquor license is up for renewal. Others advocated in favour of pushing the proprietors to improve the façade, believing a better public image would attract less destructive behaviour.

Others advocated for a more unique approach to the issue. Representatives from Peaceflame, a fledgling organization dedicated to fostering community through the healing power of public bonfires, spoke up in favour of redirecting violent energy into other activities.

CRBA president Michele Cummings committed to bringing the neighborhood’s concerns to Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell’s attention, and will be meeting with the councillor this May after conferring with the CRBA to develop a better understanding of the issue.

“I think we need to have some discussions with people who are more versed in what can be done to make the street better,” said Cummings, “There are mental health issues, drug issues, etcetera, and some of the people in the CRBA have more experience in these fields.”

The post Pan Am Games plans for the Pan Am Path, the multi-use “living path” extending across Toronto, were also on the CRBA’s agenda. According to Friends of the Pan Am Path lead curator Devon Ostrom, the initiative plans to move away from “big festival-type things” and focus more on permanent fixtures, organized bike rides and notably, improved infrastructure.

“We’re looking at a pilot project that would explore crowdsourced data, specifically to improve trail accessibility for those who have diverse nobility needs,” said Friends of the Pan Am Path executive director James Meers, “This would be potentially something we could expand across the entire 80 kilometer trail.”

The project would use volunteers to rate the accessibility of different segments of the Pan Am Path and ultimately, if the city accepts this project as a viable means to gather data, they aim to create a sort of “accessibility map” of the path.