1.3. An unacceptable Master Plan Study proposed by the Concord West Urban Design Streetscape Committee
In January 2007, in its adopted Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan Study, the City of Vaughan repeatedly acknowledged the rights of access and circulation of all Vaughan communities. In February 2010, this Master Plan was approved. In contrast, the Terms of Reference of the Concord West Urban Design Streetscape Master Plan Study prepared by City planners and presently under way, proposes:
1) To locate all pedestrian and bicycle accesses to the Bartley Smith Greenway/Langstaff Ecopark, as well as to the Glen Shields community, on the strip bordering the south side of Highway #7. This means that the Concord West community will not have direct access to the ecoway. Instead, community residents will have to travel through the busiest and most dangerous traffic way in Vaughan in order to gain access to the ecoway. The only access to the ecoway will be along the south side of Highway 7, to the park entries at Centre Street. This is particularly onerous, if not effectively impossible, for seniors or parents/guardians with children on strollers. Note that the proposed access in this Streetscape Master Plan Study is made via the same route of the only access that presently exists (unless one cuts through the existing fence at the end of Rockview Gardens), which is a route that passes under the railway bridge of Highway 7, where there is no sidewalk to speak of that is adequate for the safe passage of pedestrians, senior or not.
2) To locate the facilities of a Concord GO station so as to encompass the same south side strip (page 5 of Attachment #2 of the Terms of Reference of the Concord West Urban Design Streetscape Master Plan Study, March 23, 2010).
3) To locate a Concord GO Centre parking lot on the land adjoining Highway 407 to the south.
The Terms of Reference of the Concord West Urban Design Streetscape Master Plan Study, March 23, 2010, was the first mention the community saw concerning the plans to locate a GO station and car parking lot on the south side of Highway 7. The proposal was unacceptable to the community, which is already landlocked by vehicular traffic, noise and pollution on all sides. It was also unacceptable that the residents, and especially the seniors, of the Concord West community would continue to be obliged to walk or bike through the traffic-laden access strip on the south side of Highway 7 in order to reach the Bartley Smith Greenway/Langstaff Ecopark, or to reach the Glen Shields community, which the Concord West community adjoins – through the ORC land marked green in Figure 1.
Finally, it was completely unacceptable to the Concord West community that a GO station infrastructure would be built on the only greenland that the community could have direct access to and which, in the past and by right of easement, has provided the community with access to greenspaces and the Greenway/Ecopark – rather than on the north side of Highway 7, precisely where once the Concord train station existed, and where it would be of direct benefit to the industrial and commercial area north of Highway 7.
On May 15, a written intervention in the Concord West Streetscape Committee by a senior member and Director of the Ratepayers Association underscored all of these concerns, requesting assurance that access to the greenspaces would be immediately restored and that the proposed plans for the occupation of the ORC greenland would be rejected. However, this Streetscape Committee took no action, nor did it undertake any effort to better inform the community of the plans for the ORC greenland in question.