It’s up to us to shape our Scarborough

Greetings, fellow Scarborough residents.

There’s a lot to love about Scarborough. More green space than any other part of the City. Distinctive neighbourhoods, with unique physical and cultural attributes. Inspiring newcomers, who breathe so much culinary and cultural life into our community. Vibrant service clubs, community associations, arts & cultural organizations, sports & recreation associations, and neighbourhood centres, where passionate Scarborough volunteers dedicate their time and talents to knit our community into a cohesive mosaic.

Thousands of successful businesses, large and small, that are the beating heart of our economic vitality. And our own Walk of Fame, where we get to celebrate some of our inspiring leaders and ambassadors who proudly brand Scarborough to a broader audience.

All in all, we get to live as part of a dynamic, successful, and evolving social and commercial ecosystem. But, as they say, change is the only constant. And those of us who feel invested in the place we call home
need to be engaged to shape that change well.

There are multiple pressures emerging on the physical, economic, and social landscape of Scarborough.
The Province predicts that Toronto’s population will grow by 700,000 over the next 30 years and Toronto will need to create 450,000 more jobs for them. Realistically, at least 25% of those new residents will come to Scarborough. We’ll need to create at least 100,000 jobs for them.

Housing is already a significant concern, not just in Scarborough of course, but we will feel these stresses
more as our population grows.

Our employment lands, which provide jobs for thousands of Scarborough residents, especially our newcomers, are at risk as developers strive to convert them into housing. If we can’t even sustain the number of jobs that our employment areas presently provide, how will we ever create the additional 100,000 jobs that we need for a growing population?

Our beloved strip malls, frumpy and unloved perhaps, but important shopping hubs in local neighbourhoods and great small business incubators for our entrepreneurial newcomers, are being bulldozed for housing at arelentless pace.

And gentrification is beginning to take place in parts of Scarborough. This will bring more wealth to those neighbourhoods, but with social and commercial dislocation.

Market forces are pushing Scarborough’s evolution in a particular way. We need to use the power of advocacy and of public policy to tilt against those forces, even just a little, to ensure that Scarborough evolvesas a complete community with vibrant neighbourhoods, not just a high-rise version of a dormitory suburb that characterized the initial design of “Scarborough 1.0” when we were first developed. Let’s continue to work collectively to shape “Scarborough 2.0” so it evolves in a way that continues to make us proud of the place we call home.

Larry Whatmore
Scarborough Community Renewal Organization
(416) 562-2101

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Lary Whatmore

Larry Whatmore is president of the Scarborough Community Renewal Association