Lakeshore Residents Take Matters In Hand

By Ben Bull
Published March 04, 2008

There are times, as I rue the slow pace of progress in Hamilton and Toronto, that I feel like taking matters into my own hands.

"Let's buy the bloody Lister Block ourselves!" I've thought from time to time, or "Let's get some paint and make King Street two-way!"

Taking matters into their own hands is exactly what a carpenter and an architect from Mississauga did last week. John Danahy, a University of Toronto professor of landscape architecture, and Jim Tovey a carpenter and leader of the Lakeview Ratepayers' Association, took a look at the blighted landscape around the old Lakeview coal-powered electric plant, just east of Port Credit, and decided to do something about it.

They drew up a plan.

Rather than complain, they've taken the offensive, using the power of Google Earth and complex mapping information, only recently available publicly, to come up with a unique, citizen-driven planning model they will unveil to Mississauga council on Wednesday.

Their goal is the creation of a "destination" landscape – which does not contain a power plant. If embraced by council and the province, the proposal would redraw one of the biggest pieces of waterfront left in the Greater Toronto Area – more than 200 hectares largely ignored by planners and government.

Their plan, laid out in the pages of the Star last week, incorporates two- and three-story apartments, mixed use housing, park space, and even a spot for an Aquarium.

Pretty good, but until last week at least, it was just a plan.

Then they presented it to council. Last Wednesday, John Danahy, Jim Tovey and rest of the Lakeview Ratepayers Association took their plan to the Mississuaga City Council and sought their approval.

They got it. The next day, the Star reported:

Mississauga council has unanimously endorsed a unique citizen-driven plan for the sprawling Lakeview lands that could transform the area around a former coal-fired power plant into a thriving $2 billion waterfront community.

Yesterday's vote was witnessed by hundreds of residents, who jammed council chambers and applauded repeatedly.

The council resolution calls on the province to ensure that a gas-powered plant won't replace the coal-powered one that once thrust four smokestacks high into the sky south of Lakeshore Rd. between Cawthra and Dixie Rds. The stacks came down in June 2006, the rest of the hulking plant a year later.

This, of course, is just the beginning. The province is toying with the idea of erecting a new power plant along the same shoreline and there is the small matter of wider public opinion to be considered. But they're on their way, and they've made it all happen themselves.


Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.

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By teahouse (anonymous) | Posted March 04, 2008 at 18:42:56

We ( in Hamilton ) seem to love to live in a time warp. We see very progressive ideas and development all around us in every other community. Why can't we embrace some new / different / creative ?? Having been born on the mountain and lived 17 years in other parts of the country, I returned 6 years ago to live in the brow area ( my choice ) .I am chagrined at our leaders who have NO VISION and no GUTS to embrace change. Whether it is Downtown, Sports teams, the Mac site or the old Chedoke Hospital grounds, all I hear is the wailing of " let's keep it the way it is " or the echo of "keep the new concepts away from Hamilton".. Gosh,what a novel idea ! wouldn't that be better for all us ? more taxes / more jobs /more pride in our city .. Time to raise the flag and be proud .. Maybe the outside world will take an interest is us ??
Half of our councilloers are wannabe Mayors who show no leadership in ruuning this city and more concerned with their personal agendas !
Back to this Made in Missisauga solution of 500 acres of brownfield,, why is it making headlines ??? because of people working together/ compromising and having a mayor and aldermen that are intent on keeping their city livable and progreesive.The province has new buiding and intensification ideas and so does Hamilton .. but do you read about this from any city hall reports? Time for all of us to start yelling for action.
Kudos to whoever stared this blog / etc.. been reading it for the last year/ better info here than my councillors newsletters

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