A guest editorial by Chiara Padovani
Last week the city held a public meeting on flood management in Rockcliffe-Smythe where the intended sale of 200 Rockcliffe Court to St. Helen’s Meat Packers was discussed.
As a vegetarian I definitely don’t want the slaughterhouse industry expanding in my community, but the real problem with the sale and development of this site goes beyond who the buyer is. The real problem is that this site is in the middle of Black Creek floodplain. The fact that the sale and development of this land is even being considered is just one more example of municipal neglect and bad planning in our community. Here’s why:
It will probably increase flooding
It’s been studied and proven over and over again that when we pave over green spaces, the risk of flooding increases. According to the latest studies of flooding vulnerability in Toronto, the neighbourhoods that make up Ward 11 are already extremely high risk for flooding.
It will impede the flood management work of the TRCA
Selling off this land for development will impede the desperately needed flood management work of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) in the Black Creek Valley. Selling the land off will make it impossible for the TRCA to actually implement its long-term recommendations for flood control in the area.
It’s only allowed because of outdated regulations
Perhaps what’s most frustrating about this site is that had the “special policy area” – the exception to the rule of not building in floodplains – been reviewed and updated to today’s current standards, this land wouldn’t even be allowed to be sold for development.
The community always pays the highest price
At the end of the day, it’s the residents of Ward 11 who have to pay the high price for bad city planning. Large property owners who contribute to the problem of flooding in the City have no reason to mitigate their impact. That’s because City Council voted against giving financial incentive for large property owners to manage their stormwater better.
We deserve better
The City should take coordinated and proactive action to prevent flooding in Ward 11. Cleaning up the site and turning 200 Rockcliffe Court into community green space is exactly the kind of city planning that we deserve. It’s better for the environment, it’s better for flooding prevention and it’s better for the community.
Chiara Padovani is a lifelong resident of York South-Weston having grown up in Mount Dennis. She now resides in Weston Village with her partner.