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All In Hand

FInally.... a weekend!

Miss Vicky Sat Apr 8, 2006

It's been a crazy month... or two. I've either worked or had meetings for various volunteer commitments every weekend, and the Webgeek launched his employer's new website, so he's been working long hours as well. Weekdays have also been busy, with events, meetings and other commitments. This weekend,thank goodness, is relatively uncommitted. So we're having a nice lazy morning, listening to the radio and pondering the day ahead. Of course, working too much means I tend to let things go at home, so there are a ton of domestic-type activities waiting. But it's all about balance, right?

Last night we checked out the CUBE's new show, Stasis. Enjoyed it immensely. There are some interesting and gorgeous pieces to check out, so check it out! There's a meet-the-artists reception on Sunday afternoon.

With any luck some relaxing time this weekend will refuel me and I'll be able to write more stimulating blog entries in the near future. I feel I've been neglecting my faithful legion!

Creative Neighbourhoods Podcast

Miss Vicky Wed Apr 5, 2006

Creative Neighbourhoods has launched a podcast series on their website. The first podcast features my favourite local artsy space, the CUBE Gallery.

Creative Neighbourhoods is an great little organization that I've been working with for just under a year - the idea is to help communities navigate the often treacherous waters of municipal planning, to bring people together to think and dream about what they'd like their neighbourhoods to become, and to help them bring those ideas into reality. Our first project hits close to home - with the reconstruction of Wellington Street West coming up in a couple of years, the city has launched a community design plan for the mainstreet. Problem is, there's no real budget for public engagement, so Creative Neighbourhoods is bringing the different community associations, businesses and other groups in the affected area together to ensure that our priorities are heard in the process. The long term goal is to revitalize the mainstreet - to make what is already a pretty amazing area even better with enhanced public space, creative attractions, a better-looking and more functional streetscape, and so on. We're calling it Wellington Street Works, and we'll be kicking it off with a party on April 27 at (where else?) the CUBE. Stay tuned for details....

Richmond Road/Westboro CDP

Miss Vicky Mon Apr 3, 2006

I went over to Notre Dame High School last night to check out the open house for the Richmond Road/Westboro community design plan. There were a few hundred people out - a testament to the importance of development issues to people in this community. I can't say the mood was great, however. It became abundantly clear during the question period that there is considerable anxiety about development, and very little trust in the city's ability to preserve the integrity of our neighbourhoods while increasing the density of our urban core.

The Community Design Plan is supposed to identify potential for development over then next 20 years and come up with certain principles and guidelines to shape that development - so it will determine maximum building heights, what kind of development should go where, and so on. They've had a number of workshops and other discussions and last night presented their preliminary findings.

The staff and consultants working on the plan emphasized the principles and strategies that drive their work - to preserve the scale and character of established residential neighbourhoods, to preserve and enchance and add to the permanent green space network, to define the distinct urban character of each sector of Richmon Road. They identified a number of potential areas where development could occur, where current use does not really fit with the exsiting neighbourhoods or the mainstreet (industrial uses, car dealerships, etc). And they provided 3-dimensional drawings to put some shape into where they may be going with the plan.

Many of the questions from the community revolved around three concerns: loss of greenspace, building height and increased traffic, especially in the Woodroffe North Area, where 2-story residential neighbourhoods fear being overshadowed by tall buildings on Richmond, and in Westboro Beach where residents are concerned about the future of the Atlantis-Selby lands and the potential loss of greenspace. Despite fairly reassuring responses from the folks giving the presentation, it was clear that people in the area are still smarting from some bonehead development approvals that have occurred in the not-too-distant past (Metropole, anyone?). There's not a lot of confidence that the guidelines approved in the CDP would be enforced (in fact, it took a while to get the point across that the purpose of a CDP is to avoid such mistakes from happening in the future), and many were quick to point out that they don't want past aberrations to set the standard for future developments.

Hopefully the presentation and documentation will be up on the city website soon. It can be a little difficult to decipher but there is a written report that describes the consultation thus far. Residents have 2 weeks to get their comments to the city's planning department.


Miss Vicky Sun Apr 2, 2006

A beautiful sunny Sunday. And I'm off to meetings.

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