Dr. Correa’s deputation, Committee of the Whole, Nov 26, 2013, 7 pm, Item #2 (File 26.3)

We present below a transcript of Dr. Correa’s PowerPoint deputation of November 26th, with links to the individual slides.   You can also view the complete set of slides as a single PDF file.

Committee of the Whole (Public Hearing)
Tuesday November 26th, 2013 at 7 pm
Item 2.  Draft Concord GO Centre Secondary Plan (File 26.3)

Deputation by Dr. Paulo Correa of the Concord West Ratepayers Association (with a PowerPoint presentation):

Good evening, Councillors – and the Mayor is absent.  My name is Dr. Paulo Correa, I represent the Concord West Ratepayers Association, and I would like to present our alternative proposal for this Draft  [Draft Concord GO Centre Secondary Plan].

[Slide 1: Title Slide]
In a nut shell:

[Slide 2: Land Use – Proposed]
This is what you have looked at and I will point out some features, very fast.  These are 6 blocks [dark red areas] of high rise, mixed use with 38 stories – max.  In fact, there’s a whole belt of towers there on the west side of the development and this zoning is suggested to go and spill over to the south side of  Highway #7, just where it abuts over the river valley, where there is a junction.  Likewise, the low rise and the mid rise suggested for those two locations are part of the proposal before you.

[Slide 3: Land Use – CWRA Alternative]
Here is what we are proposing instead:
•  That you move the parkette that’s up there near the Metrolinx double track to protect the river valley to the west – that’s a parkland strip;
•  that you make that the public square;
•  that you allow mid rise  on both the north and south side;
•  that you grade the zoning and the density northward.

Also, as at the meeting of January 30th, 2013, which had many residents giving input, it was suggested, overwhelmingly, that this area which is next to Concord West should be residential and this, which abuts the green space/greenway – which doesn’t appear [as green] on any present draft – to be low rise.

[Slide 4: Recap of Land Use]
This will be for your use later on, as I understand this PowerPoint [presentation] is going to be in your possession.

[Slide 5: Transit Network]
Here is the Transit Network.  On the left is what is being proposed by Ms. West and the planners, and this [on the right] is what we are proposing. Absolutely no intersection here on the curve.

They can have their two streets with single way [traffic], they can go up through Ortona, they can go out through that road [westward connection to Bowes Rd] – and this [eastward connection to North Rivermede], I’m sorry, but it’s a mistake.  We did not want that in there.  That goes right over the river valley at a very sensitive point.  Some of these details are shown here [Slide 6: Don River]. You should know that this here is the river and the junction, right there, so this would be construction over a sensitive river valley, and that’s our green space, the Concord West green space, traditionally – until 20 years ago.

[Slide 7: Transit Network – Proposed]
Now the present plan is giving you a non-committal potential transit hub that’s only bipartite.  It only uses Viva and GO.  And it leaves the Transitway crossing the West Don twice, accepts what the MTO decided and destroys and cuts the green space in two.  Also it leaves this green space for a non-committal, later on, potential use.

[Slide 8: Transit Network – CWRA Alternative]
We are proposing instead a totally different scheme.  The Transitway Station should be placed up at Centre Street, at the intersection with Highway #7, the trajectory of the Transitway should follow B5, and south of #1, there should be no changes in the track.  From this point northwards, if Metrolinx wants to put two tracks, that’s fine, those 17 or so kilometers northwards don’t hit any other residential zone.  And we should have our pedestrian rail crossing restored.  We have presented this before.  Here are the two trajectories of the Transitway, the one [running to the south of 407] that could have been changed [i.e. adopted], even in the adopted MTO plan, and which they did recognize in the EPR as being the one that was less complex, was cheaper and did not destroy the natural structures that are there.

[Slide 9: Transit Network – More CWRA Alternative]
Not the same plan here, you can see, because our proposal is for a tripartite hub.  The Transitway would be situated in here, and the GO station in there, and we suggested a walkway [Slide 10: Station Details] like those that exists in Hong Kong and Norfolk,  pedestrian skyways with moving lanes connecting one to the other over the river valley, hugging the northern part of Highway #7.  This could lead into a commercial centre, which you have there in conceptual view.

[Slide 11: Open Space]
Now, this leads to two different views of open space.  The one that’s before you [on the left], where the entirety of the space is occupied, the ‘green space’ – quote unquote – is on the rooftops, and is no longer accessible to the public; versus what you have here [on the right], in the green space of Concord West.  These are pictures from the actual space.  That’s what you are about to sacrifice and say, ‘well, it doesn’t matter’.

[Slide 12: Open Space – Proposed]
In the present proposal for so-called ‘Open Sapce’,  we have their park, up there, near to the Metrolinx two tracks, and some public square in there.  And there, as I said, the river is being crossed twice by the Transitway – and the future of the [Concord West] greenspace is fully ignored.

[Side 13: Open Space – CWRA Alternative]
Instead, what we propose is apartments restricted in height to protect the river valley, as I said before, and pedestrian crossings.  One across the railway and another one across the river, as it was 19 years ago, before it was removed; and that the green space be integrated in the [Bartley Smith] Greenway, at the point where it [the Greenway] is most strangled.  These are pictures, some of protected species, within the greenspace.  I don’t need to say any more, because my time is running out.

[Slide 14] In the final analysis, here is the question:

[Slide 15]
Do we want a Vaughan that is constricting, ugly, hostile to wildlife and unbreathable? Those are pictures [top right] at the entrance to the Keffer Marsh, and [mid right] on the river plain, the floodplain,  right on the northern part of the green space.  And there [bottom right], where the present planner wants to put an intersection on Highway #7 – this is what it looks like, the place of that intersection.
[Slide 16]
Or, do we want a livable city that we can enjoy and be proud of?
[Slide 17] The decision belongs to you – our City Council.  Thank you.

[Applause.]  (…)

Councillor Sandra Yeung Racco:
Are there any questions for the deputant?

Regional Councillor Deb Schulte: 
Dr. Correa, thanks very much for the presentation, and I was also reading your Communication that you sent in –

Dr. Paulo Correa:
From the [Concord West Ratepayers] Executive, yes –

Regional Councillor Deb Schulte:
I was confused when I was reading your communication that you’re talking about twinning the tracks just north of Highway 7 –

Dr. Paulo Correa:

Regional Councillor Deb Schulte:
And I was trying to figure out how that works.  The twinning of the tracks is to allow to have a mixed use on the tracks and also to [have] all day service.  So, how do you just stop it at Highway #7 and have that work?  I don’t understand.

Dr. Paulo Correa:
Well, I understand that the existing Metrolinx proposal – though they have not yet come through with an EA and Public Open Houses – but I understand that the proposal is to only start the double track at Steeles and to run it up for 17 miles northward.  As I understand it, there is no double track below Steeles.  So, if you’re going to extend or create a double track for passing and arranging so that you can have traffic in both directions – you still have north of Highway #7, you still have all that distance up to Rutherford.  Do you realize that in those 17 miles, or 17 kilometers, I forget now which it was, there’s only one residential community that abuts the tracks, and it’s Concord West.  There’s no other one.  And also, I’m not going to make any comments about how Metrolinx has these powers that effectively violate our civil liberties and even our rights, in many senses – rights to environmental protection, rights even to the enjoyment of our natural space.  So, I mean, you [the Council], you are our last resort here to protect us from other instances of government that are very prone to abuse their powers.

Regional Councillor Deb Schulte: 
OK. OK.  But if it turns out that, with Metrolinx study that they do need, to be able to provide effective service – because, I think, all of us appreciate the fact that GO can be a very valuable transit tool for all of us to move around, especially downtown – um, if it is required, you’re not opposing it.  If it’s required…

Dr. Paulo Correa:
Oh no, no – this community will oppose that twinning of the track between us and the greenspace.  Absolutely.  We have said that from day one.  Metrolinx has those 17 kilometers north of Highway #7 to juggle the trains.  In this modern day and age, that’s not so difficult.  They don’t need that distance from Highway #7 to Steeles as a double track.  I’m sorry Councillor.  I don’t think so.

Regional Councillor Deb Schulte:
OK. Thanks.

Councillor Sandra Yeung Racco: 
Are there any other questions for the deputant? Councillor Michael Di Biase, go ahead.

Regional Councillor Michael Di Biase:
Thank you and good evening.  And thank you for the presentation.  Ah, your comments, as you are the only one [?], it’s putting a lot of pressure on us but – I think we all understand that the City of Vaughan is a creature of the Province, and the Province dictates what will happen.  And we know very well, that through their environmental assessment already, with the 407, they have dictated what they want to see.  So, how are you going to fight that?

Dr. Paulo Correa:
Well, Councillor Di Biase, perhaps that was a question we should have made to you four years ago because, at that time, the Province had already made its dictates.  It seems to me that if you look into the history of Ontario, it’s not common to find the Province or the Regions, where there are Regions, running over the desires of a City Hall.  I think what you have before you is your own choice – a political choice.  You’ve made commitments and we are expecting you to come through.  We believe that a much better planning could accommodate all of us.  We believe that the Steering Committee process could have been constructive.  Now, before you lies a fact.  It wasn’t.  Or, if it was, it was only in the sense that it has now sharpened the differences.  But all along, many of you Councillors, you promised my community, and the other two communities adjoining – Glen Shields and Beverley Glen, and you mentioned this over and over, this Council has taken positions in this sense, and your Mayor has done that too, has written letters and stated that this hub will go to the north.  Now, we made a solution for this hub that was truly tripartite and it was a solution that preserved everything: the greenspace, allowed the developer even to get away with some intensification which is OK, but not with the crazy intensification that’s before you.  And there is absolutely no way that I believe this Council can hide behind the Province or the Region to make the wrong decision on this matter.  That’s my view.

Regional Councillor Michael Di Biase:
Well, I agree with you.  We have promised, and I think our Staff and ourselves are being, I guess as visionary, as much as possible to what the community wants to see –

Dr. Paulo Correa:
I think you can push the envelope much further.

Regional Councillor Michael Di Biase:
And I think part of it is the result that you’re seeing – what our Staff is doing.  But, at the end, OK?, I think you, just like everyone else, is aware that the Province dictates what will happen.  And I just wanted to say that so that –

Dr. Paulo Correa:
Is it a true dictation?  Or is it their view that Regions and Municipalities and residents and citizens of this country can take exception with.  I think that’s more what’s before you.  Your promises.  And, you know, at the end of the day, will the Province listen to you or not?  I don’t think that that is out of the question.  Have you tried really hard to make them listen to you?  I don’t know.  I don’t know the innards of your workings.

Regional Councillor Michael Di Biase:
OK.  Thank you, Sir.

Dr. Paulo Correa:

You’re welcome.

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