Shawn Smith Deputation to Vaughan Council May 17th, 2010

I’m speaking as a transportation engineer, citizen concerned for the future of my city, and father of two kids who stand to inherit the decisions made by our generation.

I believe we need a more compact city, which is why I am am strongly against the draft official plan and expansion of urban boundary.  The fact is that growth can be accommodated in the current boundary and urban boundary expansion is not required at this time.

As resident of maple for last 6 years, already seen major community developments swallow up huge areas of land.  To give you an idea of scale, the Toronto downtown core bounded by Bloor St and Union Station and Jarvis and Spadina, including 14 subway stations, could fit in to each of the two residential white belt blocks proposed north of Teston.  The development in Vaughan is car-oriented.  It can never support fast, frequent transit that can get people out of their cars.  It’s too spread out to walk and bike.  Now we are right back where we were again… expanding.

Expanding the boundary is not needed and will result in more of the same.   A car-dependent city is not only unhealthy and undesirable, it’s unfair.  The majority of most vulnerable people do not drive—the youth, elderly, sick, poor.

Those of you who have been to Europe know that places like Zurich, Munich, Madrid, and Venice are beautiful, because they’re places for people, not cars.  We can build places like that here if we have the right plans in place.  Yes, it is easier to sprawl.  But why not focus growth within our city boundaries to make the city we have even better, and preserve the forests and farms north of the city?

Urban Strategies has said that expansion is needed because there is demand for sprawling neighbourhoods, and it will prevent leapfrog development.  These excuses do not hold weight.  The fact is that all cities in the GTA need to be on board to fight sprawl, including Vaughan.

Urban boundary expansion is short term gain for long term pain.  Whereas, a more compact city addresses all planning goals: better land use, less climate change, better transit, more active transportation, less congestion, less pollution, lower taxes, more civic pride, and ultimately a happier and healthier place.

Here is a fantastic opportunity to show Vaughan’s commitment to sustainability by discouraging sprawl.   I vote for keeping the urban boundary where it is.  The choice is yours.

Shawn Smith

21 Stonebriar Dr


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