My family and friends have often (rightly) accused me of trying to do too much at once. While I admit that this is partly a result of my personal struggle with FOMO, I think at least some of the blame lies in the sheer amount of events deserving attention in this city.
Public consultations are on the list of events I don’t get to attend as much as I’d like. In a way this is a good problem to have, as it means there are a plethora of opportunities to inform our city’s development, but it still drives me crazy when my calendar fills up with events I know I’ll miss because of conflicts and other obligations. Waterfront Toronto seems to have recognized that this is a common problem and has created a website for the sole purpose of conducting public consultation on what to do with the eastern end of the Gardiner Expressway, from Jarvis to Logan.
Among my many tangential side interests – and I think having tangential side interests is a key symptom of FOMO suffers – is the potential of the internet to encourage and improve public participation in urban planning processes. While I don’t think that reading about planning initiatives on a computer screen is as useful as engaging in face-to-face dialogue with people about issues in affected communities, it does offer an avenue for people who have an interest in informing these initiatives to contribute to the discussion in a way that doesn’t require scheduling around meetings or traveling all over the city.
The pleasantly readable gardinerconsultation.ca website has a number of interesting features, including explanations of the history and possible futures of the Gardiner, case studies discussing how other cities have dealt with elevated expressways, and a pretty robust commenting system under each of the consultation topics. It seems I’m among the last to learn about this site, as there are already a number of interesting conversations going on in the comments.
The comments will be used to help inform the Environmental Assessment process. If you’ve been following or contributing to the discussion about what to do with the Gardiner this seems like a cool and convenient way to get your voice heard.