Since June 2020, residents from the Lawrence Heights community, with support from North York Community House and Toronto Community Benefits Network have been engaging in a series of discussions on our experiences navigating through revitalization in our community as well as its current and ongoing impact on residents, and the larger community. Our initial meetings explored our everyday experiences with revitalization, issues of community safety, affordable housing, employment, community wealth building and community ownership as themes that came up.
As a resident-led coalition, we seek to share our experiences about the previous phases of revitalization, learn more about the planning and revitalization process, and ensure a voice for the community in decision making as it relates to community benefits for the Lawrence Heights community that will live beyond the revite process. We seek to create a platform residents can come to, to voice their ideas, issues and concerns that have to do with revitalization and build a collective vision for the future of Lawerence Heights. We seek to gain the knowledge and skills to be able to negotiate and collaborate with the developers and TCHC for the best interest of Lawrence Heights at large.
We see revitalization as not just about the physical infrastructure but about looking at a complete community which includes affordability, community assets, economic and decent work opportunities, community health and services, environmental sustainability, community safety, systems and social infrastructure that will support and live beyond the revite process. We want to be involved in the opportunities coming into our community to ensure a successful revitalization. We want to ensure that any commitments, promises and investments are written down and legally binding as part of a Community Benefits Agreement.
This vision for Lawrence Heights reflects years of input from residents, grassroots groups and neighbourhood organizations including the Grassroots Priorities document and community workshops and meetings in the Spring and Summer 2021.