News from People Plan Toronto
It has been a while since you have heard from us, but we have not been idle! We have a few new developments to tell you about, but we want in particular to ask your help on a new and important project.
PPT's New Project: A Community Planning Resource Centre
In our 2007 and 2008 forums, you told us loud and clear that you felt disenfranchised from the planning process. You said that you wanted to participate, but found the public consultations inadequate and the City's process confusing and complex. In response, PPT has been hard at work on a new project for a centre that would help break down the barriers between people and the planning process, foster a more collaborative approach between communities, developers and the City, and, we hope, lead to better planning and stronger neighbourhoods across the City.
The Centre could, among other things, provide clear and useful information about planning, design, and Toronto's planning process to citizens and community groups; facilitate the provision of professional assistance to communities who are seeking to respond constructively to development proposals; help with pro-active community planning initiatives; and enable communities to share information and build relationships amongst each other.
We've been gathering feedback from a range of people, and we now need specific input from you, the involved residents of the city. Would you please take five minutes to fill out a very short survey? Your input over the last two years has informed our initial vision for the Centre; but your feedback will be crucial to help us refine its mission and priorities.
We thank you for your assistance! You can find more background information on the Community Planning Research Centre project on our website at http://peopleplantoronto.org/cprc.
New Civic Engagement Initiative
Over the course of the past year, PPT has been meeting with the City to urge them to provide information about planning that is easier to access and understand, and to engage citizens more meaningfully in the planning process. Well, it appears someone has been listening. A new civic engagement initiative driven by the Mayor includes a course called "Civics 101" and the presentation of "learning material", including a clear and accessible explanation of the planning process. All this is online at http://www.toronto.ca/civic-engagement/
New Draft Zoning By-law
Some of you may have already heard about the new draft harmonized zoning by-law. There were apparently 43 zoning by-laws inherited as a result of amalgamation. These by-laws regulate the use of land and buildings (including the bulk, height, location, and use of buildings) as well as parking and other similar matters. In other words, they matter. To find out more information (including access to an interactive map that will show how this will affect your neighbourhood), go to the City's website at http://www.toronto.ca/zoning/. The City is also holding a series of public consultations on the by-law over the next month: see http://www.toronto.ca/zoning/pdf/torontostar_notice.pdf for when and where.
PPT is looking for volunteers who can help with our web site, provide analysis or commentary on planning issues, and help with the Community Planning Resource Centre project. If you're interested in any of these things, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org