How can we ensure the local community has the opportunity to offer meaningful input during the Mimico 20/20 planning process?
This was a key question that emerged at a December 7, 2011 public meeting related to Mimico 20/20.
A recent public meeting involving two presentations, seven workshops, and a plenary session on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at John English Junior Middle School has offered Mimico residents a means to begin articulating the community’s interests regarding the Mimico 20/20 project.
I found the presentations and plenary sessions highly productive and valuable. Similarly, I found the workshop that I attended (and facilitated), on Heritage Preservation, highly valuable as a way to share information, meet new people, and to articulate a vision related to heritage preservation.
The heritage preservation workshop affirmed strong support for the position that the heritage buildings at the Amedea Garden Court apartments should be preserved in their entirety and integrated into the redevelopment of the site. It also affirmed that any discussion of tradeoffs (that is, this building is more important than that building, and so on) should only be judged by heritage planning professionals in the City of Toronto planning department.
The heritage workshop also discussed possible ways in which local residents can ensure that their interests are taken into account with regard to the options related to the future of the Mimico Wesley United Church. We’ll share additional information after we’ve gathered information about the heritage features of the church and proposals that have been advanced regarding possible next steps related to it.
At one level, the church is separate from the Mimico 20/20 planning process, as I understand. What happens with regard to the church may be of relevance, however, with regard to broader heritage issues in Mimico and Toronto.
The half-day event provided residents with an opportunity to network, share information, and take the first steps toward articulating the community’s vision with regard to Mimico 2020. Several people that I met were attending such an event for the first time. It was great to meet with them, and to learn from their experiences.
The February 11, 2012 meeting, which was organized by the Etobicoke-Lakeshore Community Groups Network, included two well-received and informative presentations.
The first speaker was Ken Greenberg of Greenberg Consultants Inc., a lifelong friend of Jane Jacobs who spoke of how other communities around the world are participating in the revitalization of their waterfronts. A copy of Walking home: The life and lessons of a city builder, a recent book by Ken Greenberg, was awarded as a door prize at the conclusion of this meeting, attended by about 100 people.
The second speaker was Elise Hug of the Tower Renewal Program, who spoke of a Toronto-based program focusing on the reuse of existing buildings to enhance their role in the community. Her presentation was equally engaging and valuable.
The following topics were covered in the workshops that followed the opening plenary session.
The quotations are from a handout distributed at the event.
1. Building Height & Density
“What limits do you want on the size of new buildings?”
2. Housing Mix & Rental
“What variety of unit sizes and ownership? How are rental units an important part of revitalization?”
3. Heritage Preservation
“How can we protect Mimico’s unique character and include its historical buildings in revitalization?”
4. Community Assets
“How can new community amenities, open spaces, and access to the lake be included in revitalization?”
“How can sidewalks, bike routes, roads and public transit work better for the current and future community?”
6. Economic Revitalization
“How can we help local employment opportunities, businesses, and retail thrive?”
“What makes a community a joy to live in?”
Additional background regarding the Mimico 20/20 planing process can be found elsewhere on this website.