Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tonight, Watch Council make a Smart Choice

In the past, countless times I have gone before council with important reports from experts in other jurisdictions about what Windsor should be doing. Tonight marks a turning point where I can refer to reports from experts in our jurisdiction when talking about the future of Windsor-Essex Region.

Tonight, Windsor's planning department makes a presentation to Council with the following Recommendation

I. That Windsor City Council and Administration continue to work cooperatively with our neighboring municipalities and our community partners to adopt and implement planning policies that:
a. responsibly address the regional challenges and opportunities identified in the IMPCC 2007 Annual Report.
b. support the principles that are contained with in the "
Healthy Places, Healthy People, Smart Choices for the Windsor-Essex Region of Ontario" document; and

II. That the IMPCC2007 Annual Report BE FORWARDED to the Windsor Planning Advisory Committee as a resource document for its deliberations on the City Official Plan review.

At Scaledown we believe this report is a significant sign of progress for several reasons

1. Regionalism: The fact that every planning official in Essex county is a party to this report shows that we can work together as a region
2. Urban and Town Centers focus: "Within each community in our region, clearly defined, compact, pedestrian and transit friendly city and town centres
need to be maintained, created and enhanced."
3. Walkability - transforming suburban sprawl into walkable neighborhoods

We believe that scaledown embodies the values of this report. Sure, some might say it is only a statement of principles and policy that has not been acted upon. However this is where it all begins, this report is a turning point for our city.

It is fitting that this happens the day before Chris Turner speaks in Windsor about the Geography of Hope


dave said...

Continue to work with the county? Since when has either worked with each other?
Personally I think our Planning committee is useless..what about that COP? If they are not being heard then they should be screaming louder.

dave said...

I forgot to add. Walkable communities in our suburbs. Great idea but we haven't even made walkable cities in the heart of the city let alone the 'burbs. Walk before you run people.

Now granted this is nice to see but unless it is implemented it is just another useless scrap of paper like all of the other plans have been.
My challenge to all parties, the committee, the 'burbs, the county and ESPECIALLY the city...PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS! Enough talk, I want action!

Anonymous said...

You seem to have a lot of passion. You should write for Mark's blog. Intead of this pat the planning department on the butt and say good job.

Anonymous said...

This city has never been friendly to pedestrians. (think car town... 3 in every driveway). I love to walk downtown, but with the big planters and the panhandlers stretched across them and the lack of retail shopping- there will be no more walkers than in the past. When there are viable businesses in the centre core again, the walkers will come back out from the shadows.

Anonymous said...

You know, I always wondered if you want walkable communities in the suburbs, just mix in apartments or condos into the box store sites so you can just walk across the parking lot to Zehrs or Best buy or Costco or whatever.

Or why can't you just attach a condo to a mall? Instead of Sears @ the devonshire mall, just put apartments. Boom, instant walkability and you never have to go outside.

The whole idea of zoning seems retarded. What's to prevent me from buying a strip mall and living in it??? lots of parking, no hassles to deal with lawn cutting.

ZONING is what says "I know what's best for you - you can only live here" and "I know what's best for you - you can only shop here". Since they're so stupidly far apart, you have to drive there.

ZONING is the problem with walkability. Who gets to make up these sim city zoning rules anyways? Some anonymous city clerk? If so, then that's the person you should bribe if you want walkability.

John said...

Sometimes we don't take advantage of the walkability that already exists - even if it might be limited. Riverside residents - do you stroll to Schwabs for your meat or do you drive out to Costco? Walkerville, do you hoof it to Kildare House for lunch or do you drive out to Applebees? TBQ for ribs or out Walker road to Swiss Chalet? Market Square for produce or do you drive out to the Superstore? We need to support our independent/small businesses that are sticking it out and staying in the core.

Anonymous said...

With regards to zoning, it is commom for developers to see mixed zoning as bad - reduces property tax... seems to be the norm - who wants to live in a single dwelling next to a 30 story apartment building and a wal-mart across the street...?

Anonymous said...

Just got in from TBQ!!! Support D/T businesses.

Anonymous said...

I always wondered why the suburbs of Toronto spawned communities with apartments and shopping centres. No matter where you go in the GTA you see walkers and cyclists. Don Mills Plaza, which is undergoing a huge metamorphis was developed in the late 60's and an entire community grew around it.

SBW said...

If you lived across the street or parking lot from Walmart, you'd go there all the time!! That's why RVs park in Walmart's parking lot - because they don't have to drive to get to Walmart!!!

John said...

RVs park at Walmart because there is a longstanding relationship with the RV community allowing them to boondock overnight there for free.

RV'ers will get kicked out of just about anywhere else they try to stay for free overnight.

The "code" is that you do your restocking there in the a.m. then move along (ie. don't overstay your welcome).

Chris Holt said...

All of you are bringing up some excellent thoughts that just so happen to be the focus of an up-and-coming blog series.

As a society, we've invested billions into an unsustainable land use form that most know will be defunct in the not-so-distant future. Do we just flush it down the toilet, or do we attemp to retrofit it to meet the needs of our future pedestrian-focused, fossil-fuel-less society?

There must be ways to salvage some of these developments that sub-urbia has brought us. Multi-unit residential developments in strip malls? Sub-urban mixed-use infill development? Tearing down some raised-ranch McMansions to build a new town centre that's actually within walking distance of someone's house? Retrofit some fixed-rail public transit when the densities are built up to the point of supporting it?

There must be a way, because as much as I treasure my tight-knit walkable community and want to invest the needed $$$ to protect it, I will not support the indiscriminate rejection of those billions of dollars of infrastructure already bought and (sort of) paid for. There must be a way to make it manageable.

Chris Schnurr said...

Chris -

Well said. Dealing with the realities before us is an important step.

Accepting what we cannot change, making it better and then changing the things we can (long term planning etc.).

Run for council - :) You'll have my vote.