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New Danforth community group already busy with event on Nov. 22

DVCA Board -LtoR- Diane Gordon, Phil Pothen, Brian Stevens, Gerry Dunn, Caterina Lazzarino -EVAN DUNN

DVCA Board -LtoR- Diane Gordon, Phil Pothen, Brian Stevens, Gerry Dunn, Caterina Lazzarino -EVAN DUNN

There’s a new community organization in the area around east Danforth Avenue between Westlake Ave. and Victoria Park Avenue and it has hit the ground at top speed, holding its first public meeting little more than a month after announcing its formation.

The Danforth Village Community Association, which says it will “remain non-partisan in all our activities and open to all who agree with our basic principles of community building,” will be holding a Nov. 22 public discussion about city planning and the terminologies to help citizens to better participate more effectively in consultations and meetings to do with development projects.

Gerry Dunn, a tenant in the area and one of the six founding board members, says the group wants “to promote a balanced development of the Danforth Village, so that everyone can benefit from the coming changes.

“That means that along with condos, there should also be affordable rentals; that the existing community retail shops are not displaced by high-rent ones; and that our community is a walkable community,” he said in a press release announcing formation of the new group on October 17.

In order for citizens to be able to participate effectively, they need a better insight into what the planners are actually talking about when they unveil presentations at city-sponsored meetings, the group believes.

Hope United 035The November 22 meeting, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the basement at Hope United Church, 2550 Danforth Avenue at Main St., is meant to accomplish that, employing a panel of professional planners and architects who will answer questions about the planning process.

“This will be an opportunity to question experts about the planning process and planning language,” a second press release about the event says.

“This will NOT be a ‘consultation’ for the Danforth Avenue Planning Study,” it emphasizes, “there will be no direct input into that study” and it has “no connection to the Danforth Avenue Planning Study” it adds.

At a September public meeting held in the church basement that was sponsored by the city’s planning study, a packed house was presented with large rolls of planning diagrams that were not easy to understand for the uninitiated.  While small sub-groups at tables “played planner” with the giant drawings and a variety of stickers, markers and other materials, much of the time seemed to be spent learning to decipher what was put in front of them.

At the November 22 meeting the group also plans to distribute a free “Glossary of Terms” to participants so they can “become better informed about the planning process,” the release adds.

The area described as its catchment in the DVCA’s release (north to Dentonia Park and south to the railway tracks from the Victoria Park-Westlake strip) has been the site of recent new developments as well as several proposed ones, including a 30-storey tower at Main and Danforth across from the existing Main Square apartment towers complex.

In addition to two other tenants (Diane Gordon and Caterina Lazzarino) the board of the new organization also includes planning lawyer Phil Pothen, Nasima Akter of the Bangladeshi-Canadian Community Services organization and Brian Stevens, the minister at Hope United Church.

Membership in the group is open “to anyone who cares about the Danforth Village’s future (homeowners, tenants, business owners, or shoppers/neighbours),” the release announcing the group’s formation states.

“We will remain non-partisan in all our activities and open to all who agree with our basic principles of community building.”

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