Driftwood gang problems won't disappear overnight

A kid on a bike flew along a path in a Driftwood Ct. complex and right into the roadway last week.


He almost got hit by a car — the second child almost killed there in June.

Toronto Community Housing Corp. (TCHC) knew what to do.

“We are installing a swing gate at the end of the path to slow them down,” said Hugh Higgs, who was contracted to weld it all together as soon as possible. “We are going to paint it yellow.”

There was one problem quickly solved in the TCHC neighbourhood at Jane St. and Finch Ave.

If only it was that simple for the other problems.

While things were pretty quiet in Driftwood later Thursday, it was a different story from 1 a.m.-7 a.m. when officers connected to Project Kronic started arresting alleged members of the Driftwood Crips — a group Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders calls “thugs” from a violent criminal organization.

“The main objectives of Project Kronic were to identify the members and leaders of the Driftwood Crips, to determine those who supply this group with contraband, including narcotics and weapons, to solve historical serious crimes and disrupt the violence in the many affected communities,” Saunders told reporters. “The arrests and prosecution of those participating in this criminal network will assist in minimizing their threat to these communities and disrupt this criminal organizations.”

Good start. The police did their part.

But now what?

The eyesore that is Driftwood is still there. The people who live there remain. And it won’t be long until most of the 120 arrested return, as well.

Over at a provincial courthouse on Finch Ave., it was anything but quiet. Many of the suspects were making their first appearances and there were lawyers trying to sort out who was charged and with what.

Most of the suspects were traversed over to other courtrooms and told to return on other days. It was calm, congenial — and professional mass confusion.

The other people enduring a long, tedious and difficult day were the wives, husbands, moms, dads, siblings and children who came to see their loved ones before the court. One woman I spoke with was told her daughter was going to be released thanks to her being responsible for four children.

“The police called me to come over to take the kids once they arrested my daughter,” she said. “They were very good about it and treated me with great respect.”

The youngest person I saw in the court was a six-month-old boy.

It got me thinking: He’s going back to Driftwood for what kind of future?

Since we can’t get Higgs to weld together a permanent fix for Driftwood, I say start by demolishing the place. The dilapidated buildings and the labyrinth-like layout need be replaced with a modern, safe, condo-style buildings. Perhaps, a creative rent-to-own program could even be implemented.

Or we can let the Driftwood Crips keep running things up there.

It’s good that TCHC had Higgs building that gate — but there sure is more to be done.

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