Liberty Village Construction Woes – Part 1

It doesn’t require a lot of time spent in Liberty Village these days to realize that there is A LOT of construction happening right now. Liberty Village is evolving from a neighbourhood where there was very few residents to one where there are literally thousands of residents, in a relatively short period of time.

To accommodate these new residents, who now share the neighbourhood with the established businesses that have been here for years, there are a tremendous number of logistics to map out.  Issues like traffic, parking and safety are at the forefront of what is being discussed. Further to that, local businesses are breathlessly awaiting the arrival of the growing population so that their businesses succeed and flourish.

On March 5th, 2012, the Liberty Village Residents Association (LVRA) met to discuss these and other issues – all relevant to the general success of the growing neighbourhood. For example,

From an infrastructure and logistical perspective, there are several larger projects under discussion that could benefit the Liberty Village community.  Examples of some of these projects are:  1) a pedestrian bridge.  It was estimated that a pedestrian bridge would cost approximately $6 million.   2) a community centre.  For example, there’s the building currently serving as the Can Alfa presentation centre which must be preserved in its historic character.  Could this building be turned into a community centre with the cooperation of Can Alfa?  It’s a matter worth discussing.  Perhaps Can Alfa should be approached?  The site is currently zoned for a condo, but Can Alfa will have to maintain the building and build on top of it.  The BIG issue here is money. The city currently has no money available for the bridge, the community centre or for the southern road extension.
 
A design charrette was held for a proposed new ring road behind the buildings going up on the south side of East Liberty Street.  It was discussed that this land is probably owned by the railway – VIA or CN.  But, of course the drawback in all of this is that there’s no money at all for the new road.  It’s estimated to cost $50 million for the new road which would include purchasing any land and for the construction. $6 million for the pedestrian bridge.  How would Liberty Village fund this?  One provision that exists in the City is for the community to implement a self-imposed tax.  This tax would be a very ambitious proposal, and would need 65 percent of the population to agree to it. How many residents would actually have to sign the petition? To obtain this level of support for the self-imposed tax we would have to speak to every single person in the community and get them to agree.  If this tax were to come under discussion, the catchment area for service would be expanded outside of Liberty Village to include the residents bordering Liberty Village that would benefit from the amenity.  In the case of the pedestrian bridge the bridge would mainly be used by people who are coming in to Liberty Village from outside Liberty Village.  It is estimated that when the project is spread out over a wide-enough population it would only cost approximately a few dollars dollars per month per resident to get this infrastructure to the community.  The proposal for a dollar matching for this tax was also suggested.  In the dollar match for every dollar from the citizens, there would be a dollar from the larger government.  The self-taxation proposal  would undoubtedly speed things up.  If you want it done now then self-taxation is the way to go.  Otherwise there might be a long wait until the City has money again to fund the project from its larger budget.  The question is: What is going to give the Liberty Village residents the impetus to contribute to a pedestrian bridge if it mainly benefits people from outside Liberty Village and local businesses?  What could the businesses do to further this project?  What about connecting with King West residents and people on Stafford? These people would also be specially assessed.
 
Stay tuned for PART TWO which addresses some of the parking, congestion and traffic light concerns…
 
 

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