City Planning TOWN HALL May 18

 

City Planning Town Hall, May 18

About four to five hundred people attended the town hall held by the City of Pickering recently. It was a very interested crowd that showed much respect and due regard to the city representatives who conducted the meeting.


The emcee for the evening was excellent in managing what could have been a boisterous and unmanageable crowd. However, the crowd was not what might have been expected. They listened quietly, never disrupting the address by the emcee though one could guess they were not in complete agreement with the planning proposal that was the topic of the evening’s discussion.

The Q&A mike was opened but the expected clash and conflict never materialized. The crowd was very respectful and responded to the emcee’s request for proper decorum fully and immediately. At no time did the meeting seem to go off the rails.

Each person who stepped up to the mike addressed the city reps with respect and due regard. Questions were clear, on point and stated with proper decorum. These were Pickering residents who wanted to be heard, and wanted to speak their minds but were doing so with proper regard to the people they were addressing.

The questions were broad-ranging and capturing the entire question was a challenge. Here is an attempt at reporting the essence of many of the questions that were posed:

  1. the planning was managed by corporate developers that had shortcomings:
        a number of problems failed to get the necessary attention
           need for rec facilities in the west end of Pickering
           vermin problem in the west end needs serious attention and is unresolve currently
           the above problems are ongoing and have been for over 20 years

  2. a declaration that we live in a British based democracy
  3. Traffic complaint
       the complainant complained that downloading information was difficult
       he went on to talk about the Fox Runs Free pub and the Montessori school being sold and 
            their properties being ripe for developers’ pickings
      his conclusion was that the intersection relating to the planning discussion needed expansion
            and clarification especially because the timelines were tight, 2021-2036

  4. Parking and traffic problems
       the next person emphasized that parking was currently a major problem at the plaza on the 
            southeast corner and that this problem would become exacerbated seriously with the
            building of the proposed 551 unit condo in that plaza

  5. Nuclear evacuation
       this questioner expressed concern about the nuclear evacuation of the area and asked if it
             had been addressed at all

  6. Southern residents concerned 
       the resident from the south residential area expressed serious concern about the traffic flow which
          he felt was of major concern now, even before the planned condo has been approved, let alone 
          built.
          He reiterated what he called “Agenda 21” listing that the future city area would be characterized by
               – jobs within a 5 km range of the residents
               – the city would see the 75 condos being built
               –  cars use would be discouraged / mass transit would be encouraged

  7. Another South Pickering
        This man queried issues with fire disasters along with the repeat of the traffic issue.
             Additionally, he pointed out that the condo would be a noise reflector of all the traffic
                noise from the 401.

  8. A female questioner
        worried about fire fighting problems with a building that tall, more than 5 stories;
            She also questioned the issue of sewage system overload by such an influx of residents;
            she also felt that “Millenials” were looking for a decent home, not a huge “monstrosity’    

  9. A city-friendly questioner
       emphasized that the whole situation would be problematic because of the size and number of
           people who would be living there
  10. Linda Cook
        gave her name;  feared Pickering would set a precedent for other cities to follow in relation
            to high rise development;
         she also felt the impact on the small businesses was not being considered as it ought to be;

  11. The final questioner
       underlined that the developer had purchased the property long before planning studies began.

Summation
The questions all seemed to imply opposition to the planning as it currently stands. However, this tone was surprisingly never adversarial as might be expected. Opposition was consistent indicating that there would be traffic overload, unacceptable traffic congestion, compounded traffic problems for the 401, and too many people in too small of an area.

Criticisms also were made that the planning process stumbled during the COVID pandemic and needed more time so more people would have an opportunity for input.

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