On February 15, Vaughan City Council unanimously passed a resolution of full support for the Concord West community. The resolution requests the Province to place the core (GO Station and parking lot) of the intermodal 407 Transitway/GO Barrie hub on the north side of Highway #7, and requests the Ministries of Transportation and Environment to defer their decision re the current Environmental Project Report until the Alternative Plan proposed by the community is fully evaluated. It also requests that the Province of Ontario transfer from the ORC to the TRCA the Concord West Greenspace – whose preservation the Concord West and Glen Shields residents have been fighting for – and that the community be provided with safe access to the greenspace. In fact, the readers of this blog will remember that the recent phase of the community’s struggle began with the petitions made by Concord West and Glen Shields residents to Ministers Duguid and then Chiarelli, to transfer the ORC greenspace to the TRCA. The Vaughan Council resolution also asks for collaboration from the Province in the process of developing a Secondary Plan. The adopted resolution was vastly improved compared to the one approved in the Committee of the Whole on February 1.
We would like to convey our gratitude to Vaughan Council for this expression of support, and for the hard work done on our behalf by the Mayor, by our local Councillor, and by the Regional Councillors. Many thanks to all of you!
Even though the resolution fell short of incorporating the CW community’s more detailed technical suggestions (for example, placing the 407 Transitway adjacent to the 407 Highway, between Keele Street and just shy of Centre Street – see the resolution proposed on February 7 by Concord West Seniors Club, Ratepayers Association and Ad Hoc Committee), the issues at stake – which will continue to threaten the integrity of the land in question, even after a transfer to the TRCA – will undoubtedly come up in the context of a real consideration of the Alternative Plan proposed by the CW community, and the development of a Secondary Plan with real input from the residents. The unanimous vote of the Vaughan Council to support the requests of the Concord West community should give pause to the Ontario Ministers of Transportation and Environment, make them listen and correct current policy. The struggle – that has being going on for 16 years – to protect these heritage lands is now turning a critical corner. At last, Vaughan Council has done the right thing!
The Concord West Residents Ad Hoc Committee also wishes to express its thanks to all friends of Concord West who supported this struggle and made their views known to Council; to Dan McDermott of Sierra Club Ontario for his unstinting help and staunch friendship to our cause; to all those who participated in the letter-writing campaign; and to the Richmond Hill Naturalists, who were instrumental in helping organize that campaign. Dear friends, this first step could not have happened without you. We will have to continue to count on you for the next steps, for this process has just begun.