THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
Pages of Special Interest;
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Opening comments: More at the end.
This submission has as its core one very important idea - use of hydro corridors or right of ways for above ground rail transit. This single idea would give Mississauga what it needs and no other politician can see, a way to get transit into Mississauga without using roads that are clogged with cars "No matter how many buses we put on the road, they're going to have to fight with cars," said McCallion. " More the terrible transit problem Mississauga is in.
The rest of the letter does go on to note the kind of vision that the dear OLD Mayor of Mississauga has lost with age (if she ever had it).
Standing Committee on General Government
RE: Submission to the Standing Committee on General Government regarding,
Bill 136 - Places to Grow Act.
Dear Sir: Apr. 25, 2005
This submission deals with 3 items that would not only get the full support of all those in Ontario who are concerned about urban sprawl and our environment but would also provide the "VISION" for a better future that the majority of Ontarians would clearly see and support. The first item deals with how to put transit lines into a city that did not set aside land for them. The second is the most important, where to build & how for greatest possible gain for all of Ontario. Lastly, recognizing green space success stories in order to build on success. As I live in Mississauga the examples of how and why these idea would work are seen here, however they can be applied in some way in cities throughout Ontario, if not Canada.
The use of hydro corridors or right of ways for above ground rail transit. Hydro corridors are usually quite wide and run into industrial areas as well as crossing major road ways. The route they take is often ideal for an above ground rail system plus it is as close as you can get to the power grid. In the case of Mississauga, no lands were set aside for what a real city needs for be a properly functioning city, a rail transit line for mass public transit. Not just to jobs in the City of Mississauga but to near by cities like Toronto.
If you look at a map of Mississauga, you can see a hydro corridor running the full width of the City just above the QEW. The Queensway is apart of the corridor. In this case Hydro is selling off some of these lands and a golden opportunity to link Mississauga to Toronto will be soon lost!
To turn Hydro corridors into rail/transit lines and serve both uses would be a challenge but one that would develop a technology that would be of great value to not just to Ontario's cities but throughout Canada and beyond. Being able to make them sound proof enough for the residential areas they run through to accept them is one of the biggest challenges. By enclosing them to a great degree they become more weather proof too. In Montreal the subway runs on rubber tires which cuts down on the noise as well. The City of Mississauga wants to turn Hydro corridors, being sold off into developments and what is a currently a green belt will be lost. This way they can be saved and more hedges and shrubs planted as a natural means to sound proof. A bike trail set along it, for those who wish to commute by bike along it.
The second concept is the one with the greatest vision and chance for Canada to develop a profitable world class technology that the whole world needs. This idea, properly presented to the public is most assured to gain not only their whole hearted support but also proves that their government has a 21 first century vision. Where to build is the question and where is most logical? Close to jobs or industrial areas is the most reasonable. Next close to public mass transit is a must to be reasonable. Thirdly, building dwellings that will attract people in high numbers to stop urban sprawl. This plan not only addresses homes but industry as well, starting on the next page.
The concept is simple and for decades future planners have presented a version of this as the future so the public is no stranger to it. Build over existing highways and if it is done right, the companies that master this method of construction will be in the greatest demand world wide. The vertical space over the 401 between say Hurontario St. and Kenedy Rd. is more than enough to put hundreds if not thousands of units even it is only ten stores high. That stretch of highway is just used as an example as it has industrial areas on both side and other major highway links near by. The idea of high density over highways can logically go just about any where there is a highway and close to industrial areas.
Government at both levels, Provincial and Federal, would have to start this change in development. The means to finance this kind of housing to ultimately become an ongoing commercial enterprise would have to be created. Methods to do this kind of construction would have to be developed and still allow for traffic to flow on the highways. These apartments should be different from existing apartments commonly being built. Some should have more then one level and a balcony large enough to easily grow plants on. The halls need to be much wider so people can ride bikes and a large central air space that would create the feeling of a truly futuristic place to live. There are other details, however the large central space is most important as it could be large enough to put places to eat or shop and grow plants to help keep the air clean.
Stacked industrial units or industrial apartments is something that must be developed to stop this one level sprawl of industry. In this case building over top of highway interchanges is used as the example. Highway interchanges being somewhat round work very well for this as there should be an outer ring of units and inner core for offices. The space between, would be a the large enclosed air space. One key element of this design is that trucks could drive around the outside of the units up to whatever level the deliver needs to be made to. To keep it all-weather some kind of transparent or semi-transparent skin would have to go up on the outer most side of the ramp. It need not be build over a highway interchange but imagine how much land can be saved by 10 stories of stacked industrial units and the cost savings by not having to service spread out units.
Imagine a stacked industrial units over two highway interchanges and the highway between them covered with the proposed apartments. An entirely new industrial area and people living so close to work they need not drive. Even if not built over highways, (maybe beside), the design has much promise. If this does not say 21 first century then what does? Most importantly imagine the long term building boom and jobs from these kinds of projects. The economy will grow and the government will have the funds for things like health care.
Building where there is a existing focal point of transportation, hopeful including near by rail and hydro corridors for more transit to be build, is the most common sense approach, that the public would embrace as finally the government is getting it right! We need to stop trying to make old methods work when we know they fall far short of what we need, we can and must do, not only for us but for future generations as well.
Lastly the recognition of green communities that are success stories for their protection. In Mississauga to the west of Hurontario St. and east of the Credit river is a treed community. If you look at it from near by apartment buildings, you will not see homes. If you look south along Hurontario St. from the QEW you can see trees and not the buildings on the sides of the road. Communities like this need to be protected and more communities like them encouraged. Homes with deep or large lots on which trees, hedges and shrubs are grown in density numbers should get tax breaks or somehow encouraged. We need more trees, hedges and shrubs in our cities and on private property makes the most logical sense as that is the largest part of a city.
Another example is how a low density community with its wide, deep lots has protected a forest which now is recognized as a Provincially Significant Wetlands Complex, an Urban Old-Growth forest with a Federally declared species the Jefferson Salamander. This is a success story and one that should be used in Planning across Ontario, that low density and large lots (hopefully with lots of trees, hedges and shrubs on them), can protect environmental significant and sensitive areas. Urban development and nature can exist together if we do it right. Paul F. Maycock's, Forest Ecologist, Erindale Collge, University of Toronto, has written a 3 page letter - Comments on the Cawthra Old Growth Forest.
The planting and maintaining of large numbers of trees, hedges and shrubs along highways should be done. Not only to act as air filters for air pollution but a sight and sound barriers. Something the local populations would support.
Due to many other projects I can not provide drawings or other details at this time to support these submissions but if the Ontario government is interested in a more complete presentation, it can be made.
I am willing to discuss my submission with you, my phone number is (905) ***-**** & E-mail is <**************>.
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