I’m a bad citizen

A few weeks back, I wrote about the proposed redevelopment of Fifth Avenue Court (or “Bank + Fifth” as the owners marketers dubbed it, but pretty much no one calls it). They want to bust the zoning regulations (like the proposal at 890-900 Bank Street), and I’ve neither seen nor heard any justification for the bulk of it (there are a couple of minor encroachments that don’t seem like big deals).

There was a public meeting about it Tuesday, and I had mentally circled the date on the calendar. I mean, it was just two blocks away; it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

…But other matters have demanded my attention, and the family has been battling colds and/or flus, so I neglected to properly plan to make it there, and, really, it just wasn’t going to work out, no matter how well I planned.

I felt I should really do my damnedest to get there. I write about this stuff. I provide comments to my councillor and the city. I comment on these issues on social media (probably more than is healthy). I thought it would be prudent to go and hear what was to be said.

Then I thought a bit more about it. I thought about the multiple meetings I went to about 890-900 Bank Street. I thought about the community’s response and the way city planners and council summarily ignored it. I thought about the lies that the development team told over and over again. I thought about how the city planner assigned to the file carried water for the developer and repeated their easily-exposed lies.

I thought about Elgin Street. I thought about how the public response cried out for bike lanes and a Complete Street, and I thought about how we got neither. Elgin will still be a car-centric design. It may be slowed a bit, and we may get wider sidewalks, but even those sidewalks will be given over to cars.

I thought about the O’Connor bike lane. Years of planning went into that. Residents gave hours upon hours of their time over those years, only for the section in the Glebe to be scrapped at the last minute, because some businesses (or maybe it was just OSEG) complained. I thought about how the local councillor supported the change and praised a business owner rather than supporting the will of residents.

I thought about the recent decision pertaining to the Salvation Army and how the debate was constricted by city officials and how there lacked a solid planning rationale for the decision (since people were only supposed to speak to it in terms of planning, not service delivery).

I thought about all the time that gets wasted by public consultations. I thought about how cynical city staff and councillors often are when they embark on these missions of civic engagement.

So I read stories to my girls. We played Pick-Up-Sticks. It was a far better and, no doubt, a far more productive use of my time.

One thought on “I’m a bad citizen

  1. Preach. I’ve pretty much stopped going to those meetings. City staff have made up their minds, and councillors have been convinced. The “consultations” are pro-forma procedures that are only done because they’re forced to. Any input given at this stage is dismissed as “well, it’s too late now”, even it’s the first or only consultation. I think these “consultations” just annoy staff and leave people feeling frustrated.

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