|Presentation to the Planning Policy Review Committee, July 3rd, 2003
All of you have probably seen the feature article in the LFP regarding the “Crumlin Rezoning” controversy which involves the zoning of 120 hectares of land at Crumlin & Trafalgar.
Having lived in that area since1959 I can certainly sympathize with the concerns of the citizens who reside next to that intersection.
1959 was the year our subdivision, (Trafalgar Heights) was built, we were still part of London Township and the population density was very low. The only major business nearby was Gord Chant’s Auto Wreckers, about one KM away.
When the City of London annexed us in 1961, we had high expectations that our lives would improve, we were promised more and better services and that everything would turn out just fine. We might even get our roads paved. The term EOA had already been coined but it was not yet a remark which would stigmatize half of London in later years. The businesses along Dundas St. East near Adelaide were bustling concerns and there were no shortages of customers.
The City of London had one Planner with perhaps two assistants to help him.
After annexation our lives did in fact change very rapidly, regrettably not for the better. A second Auto Wrecker soon arrived, then another and another. In the coming years every junkyard and metal re-cycler found its way into our neighbourhood thereby transforming a reasonably attractive part of London into a cacophony of scrap & associated garbage dealers. Next, Highway 100 was constructed and an industrial park established. This meant that scores of businesses now bordered right up to the back yards of residential properties.
As far as our more affluent Londoners were concerned the city’s planners had done their job very well. It all appeared incredibly sensible, so very logical: “Keep the industry, the junkers and wreckers along with all the undesired fringe businesses in one area, far away from where the “REAL” upscale commercial and residential developments was occurring, namely in West and North London”.
L & G….with such a strategy, which must have been ever so compelling, London’s planners have not only exacerbated an already inequable situation, (which existed prior to 1961), they have fostered an enormous rift within this city with a population today approaching 250,000 inhabitants.
Perhaps this was never intended since it is certainly not what was promised in the 2001 Official Plan’s Mission Statement, which proclaims: The City of London official plan will provide guidance for the physical development of a healthy community that will contribute to the well-being of ALL Londoners and that is sustainable for the benefit of future generations.
Section 2 of the same plan, which I’m sure you are all familiar with, contains many other, similarly benevolent and virtuous sounding goals.
The question then by a 100,000 frustrated East Londoners is this: “Where are the benefits for us? how is the well-being of East-Londoners taken into account when every unwanted business winds up in our neighborhoods?” Why has not one square meter of land in north or west London been zoned as industrial or even light industrial and conversely, why is there no more land earmarked for residential growth in Ward Four.
Gentlemen, I ask you this in all sincerity: “Could you not foresee how this plan would intensify the already detestable division of London, how it would polarize its citizens even further and, as mentioned, stigmatize their very lives”.
The result of the plan speaks for itself: While East Londoners were being saddled with the rejects and unwanted developments in West and North London, enormous growth of upscale residential and commercial ventures has and is still taking place in those areas. In the mean time our so-called transportation main corridors in the East remain mostly paved cow paths with filthy open ditches, no sewers or curbs and few sidewalks. Our recreational and community facilities are non existent or meager at best. As an example, within six of London’s seven wards all 16 libraries are located, Ward Four has none. The list of deficiencies, particularly in Ward Four, are staggering.
L & G……..120 hectares of land doesn’t sound like a lot of space in a city with an area of more than 700 square kilometers. However, how you zone that small parcel of land will make huge difference not only in the physical make-up of the far eastern part of London, it will afford you the chance to re-affirm and lend credence to the validity of your own mission statement. You have a golden opportunity, a one-time window, in fact you have a moral duty to send such a message. It will be a message of hope to the thousands of residents in East London if you re-zone the area in question as residential. Furthermore it will demonstrate that a process of fairness is indeed at work in this city which has pledged to strive for the well-being of ALL of its citizens.