Politics

Bad Planning Snorts Back

By Jason Leach
Published September 20, 2005

East Mountain councilor Tom Jackson has decided to side with his constituents in fighting the proposed Maple Leaf pork plant from relocating to the Glanbrook Industrial Park.

One of his main points in fighting the proposal is that "About 25 years ago the neighbourhoods in the area (around the Nebo Road industrial park) didn't exist. This is 2005. This is not an appropriate location."

Hmmm. Where did we ever hear concerns and protest about the city's planning policies over the past twenty-five years?

Allowing developers to pave over farmland wherever they chose is now going to cost some local councilors their jobs as sprawling neighbourhoods begin to surround places like our airport and mountain industrial parks.

Now, keep in mind, whenever dealing with Mountain residents there is always the NIMBYism to take into account. Everyone loves their home, but objects to the next one being built across the street.

However, there is one simple point in this whole Maple Leaf debate. The said lands have been 'planned' to house industry for decades, long before the cardboard McMansions showed up.

Our city is teetering on bankruptcy due to constructing the Red Hill Expressway, which was supposed to draw industry to our city. The same residents who voted for the highway are now telling the industry to hit the highway.

It sounds like they wanted you and me to fork over half a billion dollars to ruin a natural valley simply as a means of providing them with a six minute shortcut to Toronto. Again, where have you heard this before?

As a downtown resident far from the pig action, I really don't care what happens. Part of me says, "Come on, a pig plant? Let's get real."

Another part of me says, "Red Hill is almost done. I don't want my money to be completely wasted, so we'd better get some industrial tax base out of this mess."

It's the only way we're going to be able to pay the astronomical costs of maintaining our money draining suburbs and judging by the action at city hall, our future money draining suburbs.

There's no change in policy at the hall, despite warnings from all sides about sprawl. The developers want more, so city hall will oblige.

In the meantime, the battle lines are being drawn in the treeless, concrete burbs. It's almost like a round of urban warfare is shaping up. Not between the pigs and people, but the people and city hall.

That's a good thing, regardless of the outcome.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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