On March 22nd and 24th, 2011, Thornhill MPP Peter Shurman read in the Ontario Legislative Assembly a petition, initiated by the Concord West community, requesting of the McGuinty government a transfer of the Concord West Greenspace from the Ontario Realty Corporation to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. The petition had 1229 signatories from all over Vaughan and surrounding municipalities, including virtually all households in Concord West. It was read twice because it bore more than 500 signatures.
Here is a video showing the first reading of the petition, on March 22nd.
What follows is the text of the letter from Dr. Paulo Correa to MPP Peter Shurman which accompanied the signed petition:
Mr. Peter Shurman, MPP (Thornhill)
Room 450, Legislative Building
Toronto, ON M7A 1AB
March 18, 2011
Our community wishes to express its profound gratitude for your offer to take our message to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
Here is the petition collected by our seniors and many other residents. It has 1,229 names and is 123 pages long. We could have gone on and on. I think virtually, if not actually, the entirety of the Concord West community has signed it, as have many residents in the neighbouring communities of Glen Shields, Brownridge, etc. But what is amazing, is that people from all over Vaughan, and in fact, all over Ontario (including Brampton, Mississauga, Markham, Thornhill, Etobicoke, etc.), Canadians from all backgrounds, have also signed it. They know that this is not merely an isolated community issue, nor just a City issue, but is of concern to the Province and to all Canadians who value our ecological and social heritage. These include stakeholders, manual labourers, university professors and students, doctors, frontline and other health care workers, people from the service industries, large business owners and small private shopkeepers, housekeepers, naturalists, lawyers and legal assistants, teachers, accountants and so many others.
And when so many people, from so many walks of life, are able to see the terrible consequences of the loss of greenways and natural heritage areas and their inhabitants, the further destruction of the Upper West Don River and the dangers posed by the mounting loss of faith of old, established communities in their elected representatives, how is it that the McGuinty government fails to understand this? I hope you are able to convey this message to this government because, despite repeated efforts, we have been unable to do so. And yet, the real consensus of a people is the very lynchpin of democracy.
As you know, on February 15th, 2011, Vaughan Municipal Council joined with us by unanimously voting to support this effort to stop development in this location (which was never designated in the Big Move). And yet, the Province continues to press forward with their ‘preferred alignment’ of the 407 Transitway, against the will and the better judgement of all of us who live, work and treasure one of the few remaining natural areas here, and risks the complete destruction of our strong Concord West community.
We therefore call once again for Premier McGuinty to put an end to this, to protect these lands and to honor the wishes of those who live, work and raise their families here.
Thank you, Peter, for all your efforts on behalf of this community.
Dr. Paulo N. Correa, M.Sc., Ph.D.
Chair, CW Residents Ad Hoc Committee to Save Concord West