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Happy New Year, fellow Scarborough residents. There are some significant
issues in play in Scarborough at the moment, which we will all be watching
closely this year. Here are just a couple:
What’s next with the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission
Scarborough stood tall and proud before the Commission during the public hearings last fall. We don’t want Scarborough broken up and we don’t want to lose representation at all three levels of government. I doubt the Commission expected this much blowback on its proposal.
The Commission has postponed the completion of its report. It’s now scheduled to be submitted to Members of Parliament on February 9. We’ll be watching.
How to sustain “complete communities” during an avalanche of condo projects
Condo development along Scarborough’s main streets is picking up steam. While Scarborough will inevitably shoulder some of Toronto’s population growth (the Province is projecting that Toronto will grow by 700,000 people over the next thirty years), how do we maintain some balance? Where will these people work if we bulldoze our employment lands? Where will they shop if we bulldoze our neighbourhood plazas and community malls? How will they get around when our roads and transit infrastructure are already heavily congested?
I think of our small business owners and newcomer entrepreneurs who take advantage of the affordable commercial rents on offer here in our strip malls and business parks. They breathe so much life into Scarborough’s culture and economy. This is now at risk.
Planners love to talk about “15 minute neighbourhoods”. The general principle is that you live near where you access services and ideally near where you work, to mitigate the downsides of long commutes. While I have yet to see this concept explained well in a suburban context, I’m sure that reinforcing Scarborough as a bedroom community is not what they have in mind.
Complete communities require balance: housing, employment lands, retail, parks, recreation services, arts facilities and health & social services.
Those of us who grew up here recall Scarborough being developed as a bedroom community. We now have an opportunity to do something more inspiring as Scarborough gentrifies over the next thirty years. Let’s be vigilant to ensure that ”Scarborough 2.0” is developed as a complete community with distinct and vibrant neighbourhoods. Scarborough is very much “in play” at the moment. But we need to get it right. And we need to hold our political representatives at all three levels of government accountable.
Let’s get them working together, with us, for a better Scarborough.
Scarborough Community Renewal Organization
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