Two important meetings have passed since an update has been written. The first one was on March 20 and this was geared specifically towards meeting with residents of Mavety Street who have particular concerns around the creation of a community hub across the street from where they live. As a community initiative the JCP is making extra attempts to inform and include Mavety residents in this process. It was unfortunate that more JCP members were unable to attend the meeting however, the report back was that overall it was productive in helping the JCP understand some of the concerns that some Mavety folks have. This was just the first meeting of what we hope will be many more opportunities for discussion.
While we have had communications with Mavety residents that support the idea of a community hub (several have signed our petition), these are some of the concerns raised at the meeting:
- Some residents would like to see the street become more residential. They feel this would serve to clean up the look of Mavety Street.
- Some pointed out that there is already a fair amount of community infrastructure, with the nearby fire station and correctional services facility.
- Some Mavety residents wondered what types of services would be offered and who those services would cater to.
- Others expressed hesitance with accepting government money for programming, as it could lead to programming being dictated to, rather than generated by, the local community.
- Some residents discussed the impact the community hub may have on property values.
- Some residents are concerned that the area remain safe and crime-free.
Apparently many Mavety folks were under the impression that the JCP was a done deal – and this is not the case at all. We are still waiting to hear on funding to do a feasibility study and still need to make our case known to City Council on June 17th. In other words, there is still a very real possibility that City Council could decide to move the property to their real estate division (Build Toronto), in which case the building would very likely be sold to a private developer.
The Junction community is diverse and we expect to hear quite a broad range of ideas as to what a community hub might do and how it would look during the consultation process. This is just the beginning of what is hopefully and engaging community wide forum.
At last weeks meeting we continued our discussion on the constitution, a very important document that will clarify the power structure of the JCP and its relation and accountability to the community at large. We had decided at a previous meeting to finish our basis of unity, or manifesto in order to clarify some differences over the constitution. The group perceives the needs to balance (what some feel to be) altruistic goals with pragmatic realities of achieving a broad base of support in the community. While some want the language to be incisive and specific to the realities of the challenges that we face on the neighbourhood level of life in a large global and gentrifying city like Toronto, others feel that language needs to be positive, clear and accessible, and that people need not be alienated at the outset. While everyone feels passionate about their perspectives a check in at the end of the meeting proved that everyone was ok with the process. We hope these sometimes heated discussions are productive. After all this talk, a committee was struck to take all the perspectives and suggestions offered at the meeting a work on a second draft of the basis of unity and to finish the constitution. Finally, we put a timeframe on the finalization of the basis of unity and the constitution as we need to get on with other important work.