Tonight I had the opportunity to attend the first Open House for the DPS (Development Permit System) that will replace the current zoning system. I went in with a limited knowledge that Toronto City Planning Division had provided and also a discussion paper from CORRA (Confederation of Resident and Ratepayer Associations in Toronto) that opposes the DPS.
There was a sense within the Etobicoke Council Chamber that there were 3 factions: those who supported the DPS, those who opposed the DPS and the last group that were likely the majority who were seeking information. The overall concept is complex and multifaceted and as a complete change in the planning process, a bit scary.
The basic premise of the DPS is to plan with the idea of a 'community' in mind. New buildings and infrastructure would marry with transit, green space and other needs of the community. This very simplistic and you should look further on the change in planning and the opposition as seen in the available links above.
The group opposed to the DPS are afraid of the changes it can have on the community. Will there be consultation, will the community be involved in the creation of a vision of a community? What roles will the community have, can developers change the plan without consultation? Why isn't there an appeal system?
The group supporting the DPS wanted to know how the areas would be defined? Who will be in charge of the processing of permits? Will the DPS be able to direct funds from development into community needs?
I was part of the group that was there for information. I go in with an open mind and a need to understand the change in policy. I was impressed with the presentation as a whole which laid out the foundation on where the DPS plans to go. The forum allowed for those who weren't sure or didn't support to voice concerns. I left the open house with a better sense on what the DPS was about and I can see merit and value in these public information sessions.
Not everyone will agree or disagree, but that desire to be heard and be informed is a positive and motivating aspect of running for council. I look forward to hearing more from both sides of the DPS.
Please feel free to comment on your view of the DPS.