2. Let’s next consider the rest of the transit network, called Schedule D, the “Transportation Network”:
Another sham is what aptly describes this schedule, were it not for the necessary adjective “costly”.
Despite the public meeting of January 30th having called for no major intersection to be placed on the curve where Highway #7 veers northward, that intersection remains in the present Draft, as well as in the Liberty Development Corp. submittal in the same file; which means that the anticipated hyper-dense development in the Concord Floral lands will be dumping major car traffic to a highway that is already highly congested. Since this intersection was originally planned to permit Viva and YRT buses to enter the greenspace where the hub would be built, if the hub is placed instead as Schedule F proposes, over Highway #7, what is the remaining rationale to still have that intersection?
The answer is simple, as even a road continues to be contemplated on the south side of the intersection: to serve the hyper-density which Schedule C also contemplates for the lands abutting the confluence of tributaries, the river valley and the flood plain, on the south side of Highway #7!
After all, if no rationale existed for that southern road, the Region may think twice about the need for a signalized intersection at that location, just barely within the minimum distances to signalized intersections on either side of it! However, since Liberty Development now contemplates access to Ortona Drive and even Bowes Road, it is pretty apparent that this signalized intersection has no intrinsic rationale, not to mention that it is a crass urbanistic mistake. The lack of intrinsic rationale is even more apparent as Liberty Development Corp. also proposes two (not one) other roads that merge with Highway #7. Further, the same entity proposes to eventually have an east-west axis that, to the west, will channel to Bowes Road, and to the east, lo and behold!, abusively crosses the river valley and the Bartley Smith Greenway to join North Rivermede Road.
Yes, we are sadly aware that while the Technical Committee was at work, and the window-dressing Steering Committee provided some amusement, there were still other Committees where the fate of this zone was at stake. Take the Design Review Panel which, on their 5th meeting on February 23rd, 2013, suggested “additional east-west street(s) [sic] was also recommended to increase the connectivity of the community [read the Liberty “community”] with the river and the Bartley Smith Greenway”. And even, from the same Panel: “It was agreed that a signature pedestrian walkway bridging the river valley would play an important role to connect this community with the larger context”. Amazing! The Concord West community lost its bridge across the river some 19 years ago, complained bitterly about it, only to formally lose its access to the greenspace across the railway line. And yet, despite the access to the Bartley-Smith greenway at Rivermede being within a few hundred yards from the north side of the proposed development of the Concord Floral lands, bridges – and signature bridges at that! – must be put over the river valley, when not only was no bridge ever restored for the residents of Concord West or Glen Shields, but the notion that the Concord West community proposed in their Alternative Plan, of a covered walkway hugging the north side of Highway #7 and connecting the future transitway station at centre St. to the GO station, was pooh-poohed. It is clear that our taxes go to arrange connectivities for putative communities yet to exist, rather than to promote connectivity for a community that already exists and which, instead, has been severed from its neighbouring communities, greenspace and greenway.
It is our firm view that if the Concord Floral development has, or will have, roads that can merge with Highway #7, Ortona Drive and Bowes Road, that is more than enough! And if it needs more roads, then the intensification is excessive and should not be allowed – which is precisely the case with the application from Liberty Development Corp. filed also under File 26.3 and before this Committee today.
Councillors and Mayor – you must put a stop to this free-for-all ill-fated fad of high-rises as a solution for deeper social and economic problems that it cannot resolve. One cannot replace productivity with land speculation, nor create sustainability merely by building ever higher high-rises, nor solve transportation problems by adding to them indiscriminately, nor protect the environment and the health of citizens by allowing depredation of greenspaces, river valleys and greenways. That is what you will be doing, and continuing to do, if you approve this so-called Preferred Solution, ie the presently submitted Draft. You must redirect your technical services to do your bidding, which should be the bidding of the people you represent.
It is curious that while the Region and this Council has deprived, with the advent of dedicated LTR lanes, all residents of Concord West who border on Highway #7 of direct access to the westward part of that highway, residents of both anticipated developments – the Concord Floral and the lands to the south of Highway #7 abutting the river valley – will enjoy access to the opposite sides of this highway through no less than a signalized intersection which is placed on a curve.
We should also remark in this context that in Liberty’s latest presentation to the Steering Committee there was still another axis of east-west potential roads, that also crossed the river valley, at the point where the most eco-sensitive pinetree woodlot exists… We can only guess that the signature of a “signature bridge” is the unmistakable destruction that follows it – a gratuitous destruction planned by those that, in point of fact, seemingly have never visited the locales in question.
Incidentally, this Council should know that this pinetree woodlot is being taken down piece by piece in what appears to be a severe mismanagement of natural resources. The attached picture alone, taken on May 5th, 2013, illustrates this.