What does ‘citizen involvement’ mean in the context of Mimico 2020? (December 7, 2011 meeting highlights)

I found the Mimico 2020 meeting on Dec, 7, 2011 most interesting. We have an audio file of the meeting and look forward to posting reports, once a transcript is completed, about who said what.

Here’s an overview of the meeting by Tamara Shephard of The Etobicoke Guardian.

The article notes that Ruth Grier, a decades-long community activist, commented at the meeting that: “My basic concern is the underlying premise that intensification is required in order to attain this revitalization.”

Ruth Grier also referred to the 1962 report by His Honour Judge J. Ambrose Shea into what is known as the Mimico Building Scandal, from an earlier stage in Mimico’s history.

Michael Harrison has shared a PDF file of the Shea report

“In many ways,” comments Michael Harrison, “what happened in Mimico (or rather what did not) led to the overbuilding on the Mimico Apartment Strip (and other sites) that has led us to where we are today and the irony of more density being the answer to fix the mistakes of too much density in the past.” There is a copy of the report, he adds, in the Toronto Reference Library and in the local history collection at Richview Library.

Michael Harrison has also shared with us an article he’s written for the Panoram Italia Magazine concerning Myrtle Villa and the legacy of James Franceschini – whose story is of relevance to the Mimico 2020 planning process.

You can locate the article using the menu at the bottom of the screen once you click onto the current issue of Panoram Italia Magazine.

The December 7, 2011 Mimico 2020 meeting at the auditorium at John English Junior Middle School was both interesting and informative.

The meaning of the term ‘citizen involvement’ in the context of Mimico 2020 was addressed by several speakers who commented during the Q & A after the main presentation. There are, as I understand from the meeting, a variety of views with regard to what the term means. By way of example, how does the Mimico 2020 charette procedure compare to the Mississauga Waterfront charette?

In her remarks during the Q & A Ruth Grier brought attention to an article in The Globe and Mail concerning the Mississauga Waterfront planning process. The article highlights the fact that citizen involvement can take shape in many forms, with varying levels of actual participation and input from everyday citizens. One has the sense from the comments at the Mimico 2020 meeting that the Misissauga waterfront planning process serves as a model for how to ensure that citizens are actively involved in planning processes related to waterfront development.

The meeting also discussed what ‘heritage preservation’ means. There appeared to be general agreement that ‘revitalization’ has a wide range of possible meanings.

A speaker during the Q & A session brought attention to the concept of ‘throw-away condos’ with reference to the appearance in the Mimico area of condos built with glass walls. The drawbacks of this construction method has been highlighted in recent Toronto-area news stories.

The meeting was recorded, notwithstanding a communication before the meeting which asserted: “Please respect that participants have not given consent to be audio or video recorded.” By the time the meeting was under way it had been established (a) that there would be recording and (b) if anyone objected to being recorded as a speaker during the Q & A, they should say so prior to speaking. To my knowledge no-one objected.

Since the time that the above-noted overview of the Dec. 7, 2011 meeting was circulated, we received a comment from David Switzer that when he attended a Mississauga Waterfront charette some time back, he got the impression that from the Mississauga side of the fence, the planning processes in Toronto can at times be viewed as highly inspiring. I got the sense from his comments that residents of both cities have much of value to learn from each other with regard to how to plan the waterfront. He also shared information, which I’ll highlight later, about a presentation he attended about the OMB and another talk that he attended regarding’vertical communities.’

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