Residents’ meeting fails to foster dialogue.

A group of just under 30 residents attended a meeting organized by Councillor Frances Nunziata Wednesday night along with representatives from Toronto Police, Municipal Licensing and Standards and Parking Enforcement. The meeting was held in a response to a Somali social club that has opened recently at 2 Rosemount and is allegedly operating in conjunction with the Xaraf Restaurant a couple of doors down. According to residents at the meeting, the social club has caused problems with patrons standing outside at all hours, illegal parking, alleged gambling, noise and one resident claimed she felt unsafe when walking her dog at night.

Ian Brittin, George Radjenovic,Todd McGowan, Chip Au, Frances Nunziata.
Panel, from 2nd left; Ian Britton, George Radjenovic,Todd McGowan, Chip Au, Frances Nunziata.

George Radjenovic, Licensing Enforcement Supervisor said that a licence for the 30 seat restaurant was granted a year ago but the social club is not under his jurisdiction if it is truly private and non-profit. He also stated that groups of people in the club play cards but there is no evidence of gambling. An investigation is under way.

A view of the social club last Sunday, September 8th.
A view of the social club on Sunday, September 8th.

Some 35 parking tickets have been issued since Ms. Nunziata began her campaign. The vast majority of these complaints have been generated from the councillor’s office. Ian Britton from Parking Enforcement said that he has been to the restaurant nearly every day recently. Residents mentioned that the parking situation has created difficulties for themselves as well as businesses operating in the same block although according to Parking Control, nobody from Rosemount had phoned in a complaint. This was challenged by at least one resident. Ms. Nunziata requested that parking enforcement ‘go there four or five times a day until they get the message’. In fact at Etobicoke York Council, she has pushed through a change in the parking regulations from ‘no parking’ to ‘no standing’ generating tougher penalties and towing. This might mean collateral damage for C.R. Marchant middle school on Ralph Street and discussions will be held with the principal.

When asked if she had spoken to the owner of the restaurant / social club, the councillor said no but that she had been by the restaurant a month ago and left her card with the owner’s daughter. She also had a look around the social club.

Following complaints from Councillor Nunziata, Constable Todd McGowan actually took the trouble to visit and introduce himself to the restaurant owner and was taken on a tour of both premises. He found no evidence of wrongdoing.

WestonWeb spoke with Ahmed the owner on Sunday who insisted that the club is mainly for over 40’s who like to sit around, talk and play cards. He insisted that no alcohol is served at either establishment. He seemed like a reasonable man.

The restaurant is a legitimate operation, does not serve liquor and is allowed to have a maximum of 30 patrons at any one time.

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At the meeting Councillor Nunziata indicated that future actions will be:

1. Use Parking Enforcement as a tool 4 or 5 times daily and by request from residents to keep club patrons from parking on Rosemount (although it was pointed out that parking problems will probably spill over onto nearby streets).

2. Try to prove that the restaurant and the social club operate as one entity.

3. Try to find evidence of an excess of 30 seats to revoke the restaurant’s license.

4. Try to find evidence of illegal activity at the club through Toronto Police visits.

Unfortunately, Ms. Nunziata neglected to invite social club representatives to respond to residents’ concerns and an opportunity was lost for a compromise and some community leadership. Ms. Nunziata was elected to serve all of her constituents. Pitting one faction against another is much easier than negotiating a solution that all can live with.

So there we have it. If a negotiated solution was possible, nobody has bothered to try. Instead the councillor is making this a wedge issue and flexing her muscles by diverting city departments to do her bidding. A campaign of harassment will include visits by police, parking enforcement and licensing personnel in order to find a way of closing down the club and restaurant. Instead of accommodation, we will have confrontation. Instead of negotiation, the closure of a legally operating (and tax paying) Weston business.

And all of that’s a shame.

7 thoughts on “Residents’ meeting fails to foster dialogue.”

  1. Wow….Nunziata needs to go.
    Who complained? I would love to hear the truth to that.
    Great article Roy…..I certainly won’t be voting for her in the next election.

  2. This is Frances Nunziata, with police intervention and waste of everyone’s time and everyone’s money. Thank you Roy for pointing out what is so offensive about this, beyond the obvious grandstanding.

  3. I’m sure if this was an Italian club, Nunziata would not be so quick to hold meetings and have the police harass these folks. Complete and utter bullshit.

  4. People should be appalled at our Councillor’s heavy-handedness and, frankly, racial bias. I walk past that restaurant/social club 3 or 4 evenings per week when I go for a stroll down Rosemount to the Tim Horton’s coffee shop on Lawrence. That is a dark, desolate section of Rosemount (especially in behind the school); I’m glad there are people out and about — it actually improves safety for everyone. I hope that the Councillor fails in this offensive quest.

    But folks should know this is par for the course for her. I go into the Middle Eastern grocery store at Weston and John on a regular basis — great selection of Middle Eastern food and dried fruit. The owner told he me is constantly harrassed by city officials who have told him they are acting on the instructions of the Councillor.

    Then there’s the case of the Nigerian-owned restaurant that tried to operate at the corner of Weston and Denison until the Councillor’s actions made it untenable for them to continue.

    Our Councillor is an embarrassment. And we, as local residents, should realize that her actions and words cast a very negative light on our community. We are a wonderfully diverse, welcoming place. Unfortunately, the Councillor’s questionable antics cast a real pall on that in the eyes of the rest of the city. Until she goes, we’ll be seen as a local backwater with old world views. So very, very sad.

  5. Harassment, Bullying and abuse of Taxpayers Dollars. Why is Mayor Ford allowing this Harassment of Taxpayers by Francis Nutziata. What happened to Respect for the Taxpayer.

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