New Parkdale bylaw would restrict bars, nightclubs

A number of Toronto city councillors say they are interested in a new bylaw aimed at restricting the growth of bars and nighclubs in the Parkdale neighbourhood.

Many Toronto city councillors say a bylaw passed by the Toronto and East York City Community Council could be exactly what they need to restrict the expansion of bars and nightclubs in their neighbourhoods.

On Tuesday, TEYCC unanimously approved a new bylaw that will effectively restrict the number of bars and nightclubs in the Parkdale neighbourhood — from Roncesvalles to Dufferin Street — to 25 per cent of the businesses.

Coun Gord Perks, who represents Parkdale, said the idea is to "get services you need within walking distance.  You can get a haircut, you can buy a screwdriver, you can buy book , you can buy your daily vegetables, all within walking distance."

Perks says the influx of bars is changing the neighbourhood.  Businesses, he says, "are being pushed out all along with clubs and bars.  There are higher rents and people in other businesses simply can't compete."

But Jacob Wharton-Shukster, who co-owns Resaturant Chantecler, says the burgeoning night-life scene is a boost to the local economy.

"You're not talking about replacing mom and pop hardware stores, you're talking about replacing empty store fronts," he said.

Others have charged that the new bars and nightclubs have improved the district which — until recently — was better known for drugs and prostitution.

Now other city councillors, who have seen an growth in bars and nightclubs in their districts, think the new bylaw — which was approved by the city's legal department — could work in their neighbourhoods, too.

Adam Vaughan is the councillor for the Trinity-Spadina, which includes Kensington Market.  He said he intends to bring forward a motion to apply the bylaw to the famous market.

"There is a way of looking at Kensington in that regard," said Vaughan "and bring some rules and regulations that slow the growth of the  bar industry."

Other councillors considering such a move are Paula Fletcher and Ana Bailao.

The bylaw will now go to Toronto city council for approval, but once there it many encounter problems.

One person not on board with this idea is Mayor Rob Ford.

"I'm a capitalist, as you know, and I believe in free enterprise.  And if people want to open restaurants, and it creates jobs, it's fantastic for the economy," he said.