Greetings, Scarborough community members! SCRO continues to engage in thoughtful advocacy to “connect, promote and renew” Scarborough. Here’s what we’ve been working on over the past couple of months. Your comments are always welcome.
Promoting the Eglinton East LRT to the Prime Minister
On May 19, SCRO was invited to a virtual celebration hosted by the Prime Minister and featuring Mayor John Tory, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna, and the six members of the Scarborough federal caucus.
The occasion was an opportunity to recognize federal funding for the Scarborough subway extension, which supplements funding from the Government of Ontario that was announced previously. SCRO is grateful to both governments, so we finally have shovels in the ground for this transformative infrastructure project.
This was also an opportunity to promote the need for an extension of the Eglinton East LRT from Kennedy station to U of T Scarborough and then to Malvern. Our advocacy was well received by the Prime Minister, Mayor Tory and Minister McKenna.
The link to our conversation with the Prime Minister can be found on our home page at www.scro.ca which links to the Prime Minister’s twitter account. See SCRO’s advocacy starting at the 20:00 minute mark. Minister McKenna speaks enthusiastically about the project at the 31:00 minute mark.
SCRO thanks Toronto City Council for freeing up $1.2 billion in February to partially fund this project.
SCRO will continue to work with all three levels of government to make this project a high priority for future funding announcements.
“Our Plan Toronto” – a review of Toronto’s Official Plan
The City of Toronto is required to review its Official Plan on a regular basis and will be doing so over the next twelve months.
The Province has instructed the City to conduct this review on the assumption that the City will need to make room for another 700,000 residents by 2051 and 450,000 more jobs.
Some of these residents…and some of these jobs…will come to Scarborough.
How do we plan for this in a way that maintains the quality of life that we enjoy in Scarborough while still receiving our share of the employment opportunities that will come from this?
SCRO has been invited to participate as part of the “Community Leaders Circle”, a group of 34 organizations across the City which will guide the community consultation process.
SCRO is pleased to be working with the following Scarborough-based organizations which are also members of the Community Leaders Circle:
Stakeholder consultations will be taking place over the next several months. SCRO will want to ensure that Scarborough voices are heard prominently during these consultations. SCRO will be developing a work plan for this, in consultation with the City’s community engagement consultants.
“Imagining the Suburbs” Speaker Series – July 13 at noon
There has been much discussion this past year about how the pandemic will give rise to enduring changes in the way we live, especially in suburbs, and how this should be managed in a planning context in a way that preserves and enhances the qualities of suburban living.
With this in mind, SCRO is working with the Institute of New Suburbanism on a three part thought leadership series on this topic.
The first event, on July 13 at noon, is titled “Pandemics and the Periphery: The State of Suburban Planning” and features three distinguished speakers from the professional planning community.
This will be of particular interest to Scarborough community leaders.
Further details are posted on the SCRO website at www.scro.ca.
We would welcome your participation. Feel free to pass this along to others. There is no charge for this event.
The Institute of New Suburbanism, which was founded here in Scarborough, is a think tank dedicated to the planning of suburban communities.
Promoting Economic Development in Scarborough
While there are many successful businesses in Scarborough, we don’t have the economic prosperity overall that our size and population would warrant.
On May 18, City staff were asked to speak to this at Scarborough Community Council and SCRO was given the opportunity to provide a community-level perspective.
You can see SCRO’s deputation to Scarborough Community Council here.
While the City devotes much attention to economic development, the City’s programs and strategies don’t always work well in a suburban context. So SCRO will continue to stress the importance of creating a Scarborough-oriented economic action plan that leverages the strengths and opportunities that Scarborough offers while addressing challenges posed by our infrastructure limitations, evolving business models, and the need to compete with other jurisdictions.
Relaunching the Scarborough Walk of Fame (SWOF)
SCRO is now managing and operating the Scarborough Walk of Fame!
SWOF has been celebrating the achievements of accomplished Scarborough residents and community leaders since 2006. SCRO took over the leadership of SWOF on March 1.
We are now planning our next celebration, in person, in 2022. Further details to follow.
SCRO has put in place a committee of talented and inspiring community members to plan the next event and to manage the selection of inductees.
You can learn more on our website: https://scro.ca/walk-of-fame
Promoting better internet service for Scarborough businesses
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of strong internet service as a baseline requirement in today’s society. However, some areas of Toronto do not have strong internet service.
SCRO is working with City staff in the ConnectTO program, which will be launching a pilot project later this year to leverage City-owned broadband infrastructure to enable internet service providers to improve broadband service in priority residential neighbourhoods and in business parks with poor internet service.
Two of the areas identified for the pilot project are in Scarborough: the Golden Mile and Malvern.
The Malvern pilot will focus on improving broadband service in Malvern’s business parks. The Golden Mile pilot will focus on improving residential broadband service.
The choice of Malvern for the commercial pilot was influenced by a survey of local businesses conducted last year by SCRO, the Scarborough Business Association, and the City’s Economic Development Department which identified commercial districts in Malvern with poor internet service.
SCRO is pleased that the ConnectTO pilot will include the needs of small businesses, as well as the needs of residents in priority neighbourhoods.
You can learn more about this program on the City’s website: https://www.toronto.ca/news/city-council-approves-program-to-increase-access-to-affordable-high-speed-internet-in-toronto/
“Our Scarborough” Speaker Series – have you registered yet?
“Our Scarborough” features Scarborough leaders and people doing important work in Scarborough. It’s a great learning opportunity for us all.
Recent speakers include Mitchell Cohen, CEO of the Daniels Corporation, and Lee Soda, Executive Director of Agincourt Community Services Association.
Here’s what’s coming up next:
July 15 Krystal Jagoo, a social worker and artist.
August 12 John Stapleton, Scarborough’s leading social policy researcher and advocate and a board member of SCRO. https://openpolicyontario.com/
September 9 Mural Routes https://muralroutes.ca/about/what-we-do/
September 30 Scarborough Philharmonic Orchestra https://www.spo.ca/
October 21 Centennial College https://www.centennialcollege.ca/
More speakers are already booked for November and December!
“Our Scarborough” is where you can mix and mingle with other Scarborough leaders and learn about important and interesting matters affecting life in Scarborough.
Please register at https://scro.ca/our-scarborough
Have you become a member of SCRO yet?
You can become a member of SCRO at no charge this year! Please visit https://scro.ca/membership.
Please add your voice to those of other Scarborough leaders. Let’s all work together to create a stronger and more cohesive Scarborough!
Scarborough Community Renewal Organization
Larry Whatmore, President of SCRO