YES, SAVE HUMBERTOWN FROM DEVELOPERS. BUT ALSO IDENTIFY UNNECESSARY IMMIGRATION AS DEVELOPERS’ BREAD AND BUTTER
In Metro Toronto and surrounding areas, citizens are facing relentless pressure to densify their communities. This is the result of Metro Toronto and surrounding areas having taken about 3 million of Canada’s unnecessary immigration intake of close to 6 million since 1991. Many long-term residents do not want their areas to densify, but until they admit that unnecessary immigration is the cause of the densification movement and work to reduce immigration to a trickle, the pressure to densify will continue.
Over the recent past, thousands of acres of prime Southern Ontario farmland have been lost to pavement or to housing. In urban areas, there is no vacant land available to housing developers so developers are buying already-occupied land and flooding the city with skyscraper condominiums. Condos have already claimed the downtown skyline and are now springing up in smaller, low-density, residential communities.
One of these is Humber Valley Village in the municipality of Etobicoke, part of Metro Toronto. About a year ago, First Capital Realty proposed “re-developing” the community shopping centre into a regional shopping centre with condo towers (approximately 700 residential units). This caused outrage in the community and gave birth to the ”SAVE HUMBERTOWN” campaign.
According to Niels Christensenn, leader of the group, “The ‘Village’ name is fitting as the neighbourhood has a ‘small town’ feel to it much the same as Bloor West Village; yet the developer wants to turn this small town into downtown by building 5 high rise condominium towers ranging in height from 11 to 21 storeys.”
“While (we are) not opposed to the re-development of Humbertown, (we are) opposed to the scale of the development which represents a 660% increase in the floor area of Humbertown from 129,000 square feet to 877,000 square feet. The floor area will cover the entire area of the 10 acre site 2.24 times over! Area residents are concerned about what the development will do to the character of their neighbourhood and how the introduction of 700 new condominiums will affect traffic flow, schools and local services. “
According to MSN News, “Cyndi Rottenberg-Walker of Urban Strategies Inc., the urban planning design firm hired by First Capital, said despite the opposition to it among local residents, the proposed redevelopment promotes the concept of “complete communities. It’s the idea that we’re trying to build places where people can live, work, recreate and shop, all in close proximity—with the ultimate goal of decreasing the dependence…on the automobile .”
Canadians in many other areas have described statements like this as the virtual sanctifying and green-washing of greed.
Local residents have flooded council meetings and the municipal government has been receiving overwhelming pressure to stop the developers’ proposals. Most people say that such projects will only lower citizens’ quality of life. The developers have recently scaled down the size of the project, but this scaling down was probably planned all along in order to make the developers appear “responsive” to community pressure.
On June 11, 2013, Toronto Council is scheduled to make a final vote on the Humbertown application.
The ”SAVE HUMBERTOWN” campaign may win a battle, but it will lose the bigger war if it does not deal with the cause of the densification movement. What many people in that group (and on city council there and in many other parts of Ontario and the rest of Canada) seem not to realize is that mass (unneeded) immigration is the cause of these problems.
No problem can be solved unless the cause of it is attacked. Unless Humber Valley residents address the cause (unnecessary immigration), the fight they are putting up against developers and council will only slow down the densification of the community, not stop it.
Today, nearly half of Toronto is recently-arrived foreign born. Most of them have come since the introduction of mass immigration to Canada (an average of 250,000 per year) in 1990. Unless immigration is reduced to a trickle, and the population stabilized, the city will continue to grow, the sky-scraper condos will continue to be built and the decline in quality of life will accelerate.
Toronto has more than its share of compliant city officials (planners and others) who are afraid to state the obvious cause of the problem. In fact, the local planners in the Humber Valley area actually recommended that the developer’s proposal be accepted.
As in Vancouver, Metro Toronto also has a surplus of green-washers who foolishly tell citizens that massive condo developments and the density that follows will make their areas greener !!! Leading all of them are some of Canada’s most cowardly politicians whose priority is to do anything they can to get immigrant votes. They see nothing wrong with degrading Canada’s living space and treating its long-term population as disposable.
The “SAVE HUMBERTOWN” campaign has to identify unnecessary immigration as the most significant cause of the densification movement. As daunting as the task may seem to be, it must then make alliances with other groups, take leadership of the densification issue and take control of their communities. The people who have been entrusted with decision-making (the planners and quisling politicians) are in league with the developers and have failed them.