There was a time when city planners were able to accomplish what their job title suggested – they planned the city, its growth and densification. They thought through issues regarding traffic, noise, building height, amenities, land use, neighbourhood feel, bike lanes, environment, etc.
They thought about increasing density in community centres and often sought community input through open houses, community mapping, and vision surveys. They formed stakeholder committees and met dozens of times. And they documented their work through action plans, such as the 126-page Shelbourne Valley Action Plan.
On page 97 of this document, city planners had the foresight to write: “For the Action Plan to be effective, its objectives and policies must be implemented. This is a process that involves both short and longer-term actions. Change is most likely going to be incremental. Achieving the Shelbourne Valley vision will be determined by future council decisions with respect to priorities, funding, and implementation…”
And this is where it all falls apart. You wonder why so many building projects are being met with intense opposition? Maybe it has to do with ignoring action plans, bypassing thoughtful densification, ignoring city planners, and giving developers the leeway to build what they want where they want. Newspaper editors might consider this NIMBYism, but more likely it’s because this cut-to-the-chase approach by council often feels like a slap in the face to taxpayers.