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Brampton – 2040 Vision – Doug Bryden

The weekend workshop involving professional planners from here and beyond, dedicated City staff, and a group of talented and dedicated public contributors of their ideas and opinions, was a most worthwhile and thought provoking event. Discussions revolved around and focused on the following categories:

Environment

Transportation

Historic Downtown

Social

Arts and Culture

Economic Development

Bramalea

Community Character

 

At this event, CFBB spent a significant amount of time working on the Historic Downtown focus group, working with planners to incorporate some of our ideas which are well known in the community. Success was measured, but discussions on our input were respected, appreciated and recorded. We shall have to wait and see in early February next year whether we were able to convince those responsible for information assembly, analysis, and summarizing, that our focus, for example, on a pedestrian focus downtown and outer and inner ring road traffic controls will be considered of merit. It would appear that our desire to have the proposed University located downtown in the Rosalea Park area, and attached to the long awaited Riverwalk Etobicoke revitalization project, was supported by a number of other people. But, of course, the site location is really up to the University and other levels of government.

Takeaways from the weekend workshop:

1) The focus tended to interpret “Future Ready” as what we would like to see Brampton look like in 2040. So there was no real emphasis on a shorter time frame for the future – in other words discussing ideas and comments that could be implemented in the short term.

2) As we have been touting for the last three years particularly, the completion of the Riverwalk and the revitalization of the Etobicoke Creek from Church Street to Nanwood and beyond would unlock the redevelopment of the downtown by removing the flood plain threat and its restriction on meaningful construction and growth. The good news is that we learned that engineering plans are now moving quickly on Riverwalk and costing estimates are underway for a hoped for presentation to Council next March. And, the TRCA have been positively involved in the discussions.

3) The 77-23 imbalance of the Residential/Commercial assessment base, something that CFBB has had much to say about since our founding 5 years ago, is clearly recognized as a problem requiring a specific strategy in the short term to overcome its negative impact on the community. Brampton must focus on attracting commercial office development which in turn will provide work opportunities and jobs for Bramptonians who reside here but are employed elsewhere. Clearly, obtaining and providing excellent, fast and convenient transportation is essential which will allow Brampton to be seen as a legitimate alternative location for satellite, branch and head office facilities. GO upgrades, track electrification, and removal of freight traffic restrictions are absolutely key to any strategy to enhance our competitiveness.

In simple terms, Brampton must integrate all its social, economic and marketing thinking on less acceptance of “here there” (live work, the present status quo) to more “here here” in order to start to correct the assessment imbalance. And that appears to be recognized as a must focus.

4) As shown time and again over the weekend workshop, the resilience, the energy, the level of discourse, and the ideas and opinions expressed indicated an amazing enthusiasm for the future of Brampton as a local, Canadian, indeed international hub for innovation, education and opportunity. There was seemingly a melding of cultures focused on respect and a certain “constructive impatience” to get down to work, and make a difference.

Doug Bryden Co-Chair


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