Lets create neighbourhood councils

wonderful idea eh!


It would be great to have Toronto  neighbourhood councils  made up of elected city council members as well as representatives from  the police , fire authority, local city staff of the various services and members of local community groups, plus ordinary members of the public. Joint meetings on a regular base could very effectively inform and assist more people to become involved with little or a lot of effort as chosen by the individual.

This would effectively end self serving projects started by a a few people and pushed though simply  of their stamina of effort.  For example changes to a local roadway such as speed bumps or removal or placement of play equipment in parks would have to pass though the  neighbourhood councils for input and in some cases approval.  Of course professional city stuff in such areas are not to be ignored yet no longer would the community have so little say in their decisions.

If created as a resident-led approach they could be used to solve, at the local level, disparities attributable to differences in access to the social, economic and environmental resources necessary for individual and community happiness and growth with our local streets and in turn throughout  the wards of the city. Major needs and directional directions could be given to such areas as  health care, employment (a much forgotten about area the the current election in the Junction), education, affordable housing options and safe neighborhoods.

One person if  elected, George Smitherman says he would create neighbourhood councils.

George Smitherman says he would create neighbourhood councils that could help make decisions on local issues. “I want to build a model of governance in Toronto that actually pushes power back to down to more of a neighbourhood level,”

Working with Regent Park residents as an MPP during the redevelopment process showed him the kind of input that community should have over local issues.

Wikipedia article on neighbourhood councils, Neighbourhood Councils are governmental or non-governmental bodies composed of local people who handle neighborhood problems


4 Comments

To me, this seems like another level of unnecessary bureaucracy. Community consultations and strong public input already exist in our neighbourhood, this type of "council" just seems needless in my opinion.

I do like neighbourhood councils in principle; basically they legitimize and regulate local residents associations. One questions should be is it necessary to legislate what a city councilor and city staff should be doing anyway? In my experience with the JRA it is unfortunately necessary.

Requiring developers and city committees to consult with neighbourhood councils gives citizens an open door to the decision process. I think this would speed up the development process and give local input on city budgets and new programs.

One example would be the city garbage bin program, if the city sat down with such neighbourhood councils I’m sure feedback would have led to program changes which would accommodate row homes.

Also regulating the neighbourhood councils makes them transparent and discourages misrepresentation of residents. The JRA is open and regulated through our by-laws but some RA’s don’t have public meetings, websites, voting and only one or two members.

On the downside neighbourhood councils in other cities have become politicized. In NYC half of the neighbourhood councils are appointed by the local councilor who can pick people they know will support their agenda. Selection of the neighbourhood council executive needs to remain the choice of the residents.

On a side note, the JRA is hosting its meet-the-JRA-candidates night at Axis on Thursday, Oct. 28, 7pm to 9pm. Come out and get to know the incumbent officers and new candidates. If you are interested in joining the JRA executive team come out and talk about how to get involved.

I think that the amalgamated city's bureaucratic structure is way too big to take care of the fine details in infrastructure.

I see it all the time: poorly patched roads that aren't properly restored to a smooth surface, pedestrian crossings and the rare street paved with interlocking bricks that seem to have been permanently patched with asphalt, streets with weeds growing by the curb everywhere, schools where the concept of painting rusted exterior surfaces seems to have been forgotten, parks with picnic benches in very bad shape, and places where abandoned street poles stand next to normal ones (like at Runnymede and Annette).

The large bureaucratic structures simply fail to deal with all these small but meaningful issues on the streets; local community councils could identify and respond faster to these issues. The result is a compromised public realm that may look neglected or simply "dirty".

Each individual problem may seem minor, but it adds to up to a city that seems to barely work anymore. It doesn't matter if it's an affluent or working class area, that variety of small but noticeable problems can be found pretty much anywhere in different forms.

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