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Old May 17th, 2010, 06:07 PM   #1
dime
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Vaughan

Vaughan urged to take a break on growth

May 17, 2010
Phinjo Gombu

Sony Rai stands in a parking lot on Hwy 7 in Vaughan, where the subway extention terminus will be built.
TONY BOCK/TORONTO STAR
Woodbridge resident Sony Rai is a rare breed in suburban Vaughan.
A member of a newly formed environmental group, Sustainable Vaughan, he is fighting to stop the suburban expansion that has defined his city for decades.
He argues the time is ripe for officials, politicians and residents to send a bold signal as the city matures, a freeze on urban expansion until the question of intensification is vigorously and openly debated.
“The city is at a crossroads, they have the gift of a subway and VIVA rapid transit coming, and they can leverage that to grow even more intensely,” says Rai, an intern architect who works in downtown Toronto.
But a freeze, the same issue that was debated in Markham recently, could mean a serious dent to the suburban dream of large lots that has driven growth in much of the GTA.
Instead major transit corridors and nodes would be filled with even more highrises and low-rises alike that would put more people in less space, the key to any successful public transit system.
Vaughan, like many GTA cities, is intensifying like never before, forced by the province under smart growth legislation.
But the draft official plan, several years in the making and only recently unveiled for public input at a public meeting Monday at city hall, has expansion plans on rural-agricultural white belt lands that lie outside the urban boundary and the Greenbelt.
Rai says that’s not good enough for a city that is getting an expensive subway line, the envy of all GTA suburban cities. His group his seeking a five-year moratorium on expansion until the impact of the subway on the housing market and the public consciousness is better understood.
They also argue that Monday’s public meeting and a key council committee vote on the plan in midsummer — when most people are on holiday mode — is insufficient time for residents to properly weigh in.
A lame duck council is slated to vote on the final plan Sept. 7, the day after the Labour Day weekend — and less than two months before the Oct. 25 elections.
Rai’s quixotic fight is similar to the one in Markham, where a proposal to freeze expansion and create valuable farmland, in essence create a food belt, was narrowly defeated at council.
The 850 hectares of residential and employment land being considered for expansion in Vaughan, on either side of Highway 400 between Teston and Kirby Rds, is about the same as in Markham.
Deborah Schulte who is part of Rai’s group and is running for Vaughan council, says that unlike her city, Markham debated the thorny and specific question of expansion versus intensification vigorously for a year, and it involved extensive studies, consultation with the community and a council vote.
It is only now that Markham is embarking on another series of studies and meetings about its official plan that will be completed by next year.
In Vaughan’s case, Schulte argues, the expansion component was discussed in just two public meetings. The first was in May last year when the growth options were unveiled to the public by a consultant, and then in November, when expansion was “recommended to the public” by staff.
Rai says there was no public engagement on how 9,000 homes destined for the white belt might be accommodated within the urban boundary through additional intensification or higher densities in the building of traditional subdivisions.
Councillor Peter Meffe, who heads the city’s official plan committee, says a final decision has not been made on the expansion question and all input will be considered.
But adequate consultation has occurred, and there remains time for public input until the fall, he says.
Several of Meffe’s colleagues have, however, served notice they are not sympathetic to Sustainable Vaughan’s criticisms, especially the suggestion that expansion means sprawl.
The most outspoken is regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio who says she’s sick of hearing the negative term sprawl because what’s being provided is “a better quality of life.”
Meffe says the key is to provide proper housing, proper jobs and a more sustainable lifestyle, closer to work.
“(Expansion) is not the hottest issue,” he says, pointing out what’s being proposed is the smallest boundary expansion in the city’s history, to accommodate just 15 per cent of the projected growth.
It helps that Vaughan has 3,400 hectares of green field land already zoned for future traditional low-density homes, that many already consider sprawl. It also has another 1,200 hectares of vacant employment land in the city’s west end, again the envy of many cities.
And while the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre on Highway 7 between Highway 400 and Jane St., the proposed subway terminus, will be dense, the current official plan barely meets the provincial minimum density requirements of 200 people and jobs per hectare.
That’s half of what Metrolinx recommends for such a hub and a far cry from the 1,000 people and jobs per hectare that Markham is planning off Yonge St. and Highway 407. The density in downtown Toronto is 1,403 people and jobs per hectare.
“The process is not over and if it is determined that we need more time, more time will be provided,” says Meffe, adding council will listen to all public input.
The problem is that if the vote on the official plan takes place after Sept. 7, the start of election season, another council will have to finish the official plan process.
------------------


This was from The Star this morning, http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/arti...reak-on-growth


How come Vaughan is getting a subway and not Mississauga when Sauga is much more populated and expected to grow even more?


Eventhough Vaughan has been expanding over the last decade at an alarming rate the number of highrises as kept at a minimum (at least till now). why?


and most important why isnt anyone from Vaughan posting pics about the development and such?
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Old May 19th, 2010, 02:50 AM   #2
dennis911
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I have no clue why Vaughan is getting the subway. Politicos at work.

I'll tel you this much: All that might change if a new mayor comes.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 06:20 AM   #3
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I'm not condoning what is most likely some sort of politically-motivated extension, but based on the distance and costs involved, the 8.6km extension into Vaughan's new downtown was probably cheaper/easier to build than say extending the Bloor line about 12km to downtown Mississauga.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 08:44 AM   #4
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Vaughan... 250,000 people; Mississauga... 800,000. Mississauga's not a real city, but has such a critical mass (and relatively dense downtown) that it deserves rapid transit more than the exurban sprawl north of steeles.

I mapped out Toronto and Vancouver's sprawl since 1985, here's Toronto's map. Faded red is the 15 years from 1985-1999, red is the 7 years from 1999-2006, and yellow is everything since 2006. Notice how pretty much 80% of Vaughan is brand spanking new sprawl...



I agree with Rai for the moratorium... I don't care if people are forced to buy crap condos instead of crap houses (until planners and the economy adjust to the new reality); continued razing of the city's surroundings must be stopped first. It's taking longer and longer distance-wise to drive through the 905 to get into Toronto, and it's not a pretty sight.

Last edited by dleung; May 19th, 2010 at 08:51 AM.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 01:56 PM   #5
Bartolo
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Last edited by Bartolo; May 19th, 2010 at 02:06 PM.
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Old July 24th, 2016, 10:35 PM   #6
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Lets do some updates for this large and fairly empty suburb (lots of projects going to start this year thorough)
Office + Condos near the Hwy 7 Subway Station
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Old July 24th, 2016, 10:40 PM   #7
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Expo Condos at Hwy 7 and Jane street
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Old July 24th, 2016, 10:43 PM   #8
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Centro Square Condos at Hwy 7 and Weston Road

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Old March 15th, 2017, 06:19 AM   #9
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Centro Square Condos at Hwy 7 and Weston Road - February 2017 progress
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Last edited by gan4volta; March 25th, 2017 at 02:33 PM.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 06:45 AM   #10
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Old July 26th, 2017, 01:36 AM   #11
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Centro Square Condos at Hwy 7 and Weston Road - February 2017 progress
20170723_125018 by Vitalii Goncharov, on Flickr
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