Dear Scarborough councillors and Mayor Chow:
As you know, the report of Planning and Housing Committee will be considered by you this Wednesday, including the Committee’s recommendations coming out of the very lengthy discussion at the July 5 meeting regarding the applications for the conversion of employment lands, mostly for housing.
While a few of these proposals were contentious, the Scarborough Community Renewal Organization continues to strongly believe that the preservation of our employment lands is essential for a more prosperous Scarborough.
We would ask you to consider the following as you prepare to vote on Wednesday.
Toronto’s population is expected to grow by 700,000 over the next 30 years, mostly through immigration. Those newcomers will require 450,000 more jobs. Where will our new residents work if we erase our employment lands? Moreover, where will our current residents work if we erase the employment opportunities that these employment lands provide now?
The kind of jobs offered in our employment lands in manufacturing and logistics do not easily co-locate with adjacent residential uses, as some of Scarborough’s largest private sector employers stated so compellingly in their deputations. Let’s not drive these employers away! The jobs they provide enrich Scarborough, provide an important economic foothold for our aspiring newcomers, and help to create a well-diversified employment ecosystem in Scarborough.
We note the comments of the Chief Planner that the City can meet its housing targets without having to authorize any of the proposed conversions.
City Council has been diligent in addressing our housing issue. We now need to see the same level of long-term commitment to the creation of employment opportunities, especially in Scarborough, if Scarborough is ever to evolve into a complete community, with opportunities to live, work, learn and play for all.