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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 2011 Quarry Lands Update

Hi everyone,

It has been a long time since our last update. The news around the Quarry Lands in recent months is decidedly mixed. A few key points:

1) Developments at a recent hearing of the Ontario Municipal Board May 26 confirm our opinion that City planning staff either cannot or will not use the OMB forum to act on behalf of the community’s best interest and defeat the proposed development. There is little positive news emerging out of the OMB process and we have no reason to believe that will change. Issues before the OMB at this point are largely to deal with minor zoning and site plan changes; the OMB has, in effect, already given its approval to the general idea of Gerrard Clonmore Development's high rise plans. That said, the OMB is far from the only leverage point the community has to express its opinion and drive change and common sense planning around this issue.

2) Members of the CCQLD board met earlier this month with officials from the provincial Ministry of the Environment and staff from MPP Lorenzo Berardinetti’s office. We stressed the critical importance of public input into the Record of Site Condition process, which must be undertaken separately by both Build Toronto (ie. the City) and GCD before any approvals are granted. This process will take many months, as neither the City nor GCD have filed necessary documentation with the Ministry.

3) We are in regular contact with our elected representatives from all three levels of government. Councillor Gary Crawford and newly elected Scarborough Southwest MP Dan Harris attended CCQLD’s May board of directors meeting. MPP Lorenzo Berardinetti has also said he understands the importance of this issue to the community – and on that note, we expect the Quarry Lands to be an issue again during the provincial election campaign this fall. Overall, while ongoing discussion have not been able to produce substantial results to date, it’s up to our entire community to continue to put pressure on our elected officials, wherever and whenever we can, to achieve a sensible result.

4) There has been no meeting of Build Toronto, City planning officials, elected representatives and members of the CCQLD Board of Directors for well over a year. We are working to make this happen as soon as possible. Since the last such meeting, we have a new city councillor (Gary Crawford), a new key contact at Build Toronto (Prakesh David), a new head of Scarborough planning (Raymond David) and of course a new Mayor (Rob Ford). These parties need to have a united front and a vision for how we can and must all do better, based on a common interest in strong city-building. Give them a call and let them know how you feel.

5) The Quarry Lands issue remains, at its heart, an issue of city-building. When area residents, local elected representatives from all three levels of government, city planners and outside experts agree that this development is an inappropriate land use from the 1960s that doesn’t make sense for the community and defies all reasonable planning principles, shame on all those in positions of power if they collectively let it happen. Healthy, vibrant communities are not built this way.

6) There is still time to find a solution. With environmental and other necessary approvals, even in a worst-case scenario, we’re still several years from ground being turned. That said, the clock is ticking and we all need to raise the level of our game.

Back in touch soon,
CCQLD Board of Directors