On, January 20, 2020, Regent Park Community Partners made their voices heard loud and clear to City Council in support of social development in Regent Park!
Regent Park is going through a massive transformation from Canada oldest and largest public housing community, to a mixed use and mixed income neighbourhood. Unlike many redevelopment projects around the city, the Revitalization of Regent Park has always involved a two-track approach – a Physical Development Plan, approved by the City in 2006, and a Social Development Plan, endorsed by Toronto City Council in 2007.
The Physical Development Plan calls for new streets, parks and facilities, along with new residential buildings and townhouses. The Social Development Plan (SDP)consists of activities and strategies focused around communication/safety/community building/employment and economic areas that residents and community members have identified are important for the creation of an inclusive and cohesive neighbourhood.
While the physical plan for the redevelopment of Regent Park has received millions of dollars of financial investments, the Social Development Plan has received almost no direct government funding for implementation, even after a decade of demolition and construction. In an effort to rectify this and advocate for the resources needed for the Social Development Plan, members involved in the Regent Park Social Development Stakeholders Table went to City Hall calling for support for funding of the Social Development Plan!!!!
On October 16, 2019, a motion was put forth at the City of Toronto's Economic and Community Development Committee meeting requesting Resourcing of the Regent Park Social Development Plan. The motion was debated before the January 20, 2020, meeting of the Toronto Budget Committee.
The ask was for $500,000 per year, for five years, for investment in the Regent Park community. The budget would serve to fund a wide range of projects such as youth employment training opportunities, recreational programs, community safety initiatives and communication on community events.
The members of the Regent Park Social Development Plan Stakeholders' Table made enthusiastic and passionate deputations in support of the motion and their voices were heard!!
City Council Budget Committee adopted the motion directing the Executive Director, Social Development, Finance and Administration to submit a business case for consideration during the 2020 Budget Process to resource the actions, services and programs identified for the implementation of the Regent Park Social Development Plan, and fund program operations to ensure ongoing engagement and capacity building of residents and grassroots group of Regent Park throughout the lifetime of revitalization.
In follow-up City of Toronto Council Meetings for the 2020 budget, the staff report was approved resulting in 2.5 Million over the next five years for meaningful investment in Regent Park!
Congratulations to the Regent Park Community for their commitment to a revitalized community!
To see the deputations click here.
By Adonis Huggins - Adonis is a staff member of the Focus Media Arts Centre.