The Vanier Community Association (VCA), after consulting with residents during monthly meetings and through our Sustainable Development Committee, supported the Montreal Rd. Community Improvement Program (CIP). We envisioned it as a program to build our neighbourhood by helping small and medium businesses on Montreal Rd. while also incentivizing investments in recreation infrastructure, public art, a community health centre, mental health services and social services. Amenities that are much need in our community. The VCA supported the Montreal Rd. CIP program for its uniqueness regarding social entrepreneurs, culture based affordable housing and socio-economic development.
Regarding the controversial Porsche dealership CIP application in Castle Heights, Ward 13. This site is important to Vanier; it is our Eastern Gateway towards Vanier. Though we understand that every business on Montreal Rd is invited to apply for the CIP, we strongly believe that criteria set out by the program should be strictly applied. In the case of this application, the VCA is not convinced they were:
- City report does not provide a clear and complete socio-economic analysis, and employs vague terms to justify the socio-economic benefits to our community, and “community fabric” (CIP Criteria 7)
- It is not clear whether the project would/could have proceeded in the absence of the incentive (CIP Criteria 6)
- We are also concerned about the overuse of the word “Hub” or “Community Hub” to facilitate approval of applications. We ask the city to apply the definition of the Government of Ontario.
Regarding the Porsche dealership site plan application. A site plan application was submitted by the applicant, but it has not been approved yet. Both, the Vanier Community Association and the Overbrook Community Association provided comments. Both associations requested a site plan that was suitable for the community including more trees, setbacks for a bike track and from the curb as required by the secondary plan, along with other requirements including public art.
In conclusion, we are keen to see Montreal Rd become a thriving and inclusive hub of our community. The CIP benefits we would like to see in Vanier are much needed support for small businesses, full time jobs with benefits for Vaniérois, bring affordable housing, green initiatives, public arts, collective spaces and affordable fun for all. In conclusion, the VCA raises concerns about the application and asks the city to focus on our community goals with the CIP and all other programs to help us build the main street we envision.