Posts Tagged ‘politics’
The Toronto Star‘s San Grewal tells an inspiring story.
Call it a victory for the little guy.
Saturday’s historic announcement to kickoff Mississauga’s monumental Inspiration Lakeview project, with 26 hectares of newly created conservation land connected to a 100-hectare mixed-use community to house 20,000 residents next to the city’s waterfront, should never have happened.
“It started before 2006,” Councillor Jim Tovey said during a boat tour Saturday around the site, just offshore and on the edge of the city’s border with Toronto. Elected officials from every level of government were on board.
The Lakeview project will feature a mix of commercial, residential and cultural buildings on the western side of the site, which will be connected to a man-made 26-hectare conservation area featuring meadows, a forest, wetlands and trails on what is currently still part of the lake.
Tovey spoke about how before becoming a councillor in 2010, he and a group of local citizens organized themselves, partnering with a University of Toronto expert, to unite residents against the powerful forces pushing for a new gas-fired power plant where the giant coal-fired Lakeview generating station had stood for almost 50 years.
At the time of the plant’s demolition in 2007, the province had a plan in place to simply replace coal with gas, with an ally in former mayor Hazel McCallion.
Even before the plant was torn down, “We wanted to create the Lakeview legacy project,” Tovey said. The push to get rid of the plant seemed incomprehensible in a province whose thirst for electricity could barely be quenched. But Tovey and others knew demand in the area was actually beginning to decline, with the loss of manufacturing and renewable energy sources coming online.
I choose to read Edward Keenan’s Wednesday article in the Toronto Star, starting with the Rail Deck Park, as a challenge for us to do better.
I want to fall in love with this thing because I imagine in my mind’s eye what it could be, in a dead zone of the city right now, in the heart of a growing central area, and think: “What a kick-ass awesome thing that would be to have in the city.”
I want to live in the city that says it is worth it, because we are a wealthy and growing city, and because it would belong to all of us, and because it would be awesome.
…and yet I know this is a city that already has a much larger downtown park — on the Toronto Islands, roughly the size of New York’s Central Park — and chokes off access to it on aging ferry boats, so that a family of four wanting to visit must pay more than $22 to access the park, and must line up for a long time, crowded into a pen in the hot sun, waiting to board.
…and yet I know this a city in which the man who is now deputy mayor launched a crusade to protest the cost of pink umbrella lighting installations in a new waterfront park just a few years ago, and ramped up the outrage over new washrooms at Cherry Beach.
Jennifer Pagliaro’s article in the Toronto Star explores the political mechanics behind the impending construction of a super-high condo tower at Yonge and Bloor. The City of Toronto lacks much control over the process, it seems.
An unprecedented development — an 80-storey Toronto condo tower that will be second in height only to the CN Tower — sets a new standard for density at a crucial downtown intersection. Those extremes have created schisms at city hall over more than a year, during a planning process that has left key questions lingering: How much is too much? And who decides?
What occurred with this tower, which Yorkville developer Sam Mizrahi has dubbed “The One,” does not reflect how all building applications are dealt with in this city. But it is an example of how, some councillors say, the city is being built higher and higher, under duress.
As real estate wars see developers buying smaller and smaller parcels of land at rising prices, they are increasingly building skyward to cover their costs.
That’s been noticed at city hall. City councillors and staff say developers are applying more frequently to build well above the prescribed height and density for a neighbourhood. Councillors say there is little recourse to accommodating exceptions, with a provincially legislated appeals body capable of overturning council’s planning choices.
With the province in the midst of a review of that powerful body, the Ontario Municipal Board, city advocates say it’s finally time to get serious about removing Toronto from its grasp.
In the absence of reform, this is how one very tall, very dense building got the green light at council.