An open letter to the City of Toronto
Re: “Public Consultations on the Toronto Strong Neighbourhoods Strategy 2020”
We write this open letter on behalf of many residents of Jane and Finch community. We are outraged about the lack of appropriate and accessible planning and genuine and careful considerations in making the above “public consultations” accessible for many community residents across the City.
Why is there no consultation with Jane and Finch?
Those who have limited access to private and public means of transportation or internet and who live in “priority” neighbourhoods, such as our area, have clearly been excluded from the process. We are dismayed that there will be no consultation in the Jane and Finch community and for that matter the whole North West North York.
Many people in the community already are sceptical about the whole process and believe that the purpose of the “consultation” has more to do with justifying the withdrawal of services from the present priority neighbourhoods rather than improving programs and services.
What is the true agenda behind these “consultations?”
As well, many see this process as an attempt to get our communities to compete against each other to keep the needed services in their respective neighbourhoods. Clearly this is part of the current austerity agenda that all levels of government have adopted, which disentitles us for the benefit of the rich. We stand opposed to this agenda.
We, as residents in our communities, pay property taxes at the same rate or even higher than those in more affluent areas of the city while continue to be the most excluded people in this City.
The persistence of a very high level of poverty, unemployment as well as targeted policing and a wide-range of other socio-economic barriers in racialized neighbourhoods like Jane and Finch means that we need to have stronger voices in order to achieve real social and economic justice.
We need policies that directly address poverty, social and economic injustices and political exclusion in the areas of housing, recreation, income, food security, childcare, employment and safety and policing.
Your austerity measures will not create “strong neighbourhoods”. We will be working with our neighbours in various parts of the City to push back against top-down destructive policies.
We are therefore calling on the City of Toronto and those in charge to expand these consultations in order to ensure that community residents will have easy access to these meetings.
In particular, we are demanding a public consultation to take place in the Black Creek area, with appropriate advance notice, to allow for full participation of all community residents especially those at a higher risk of being affected by the decisions made as a result of this process.
We look forward to hearing a positive response, preferably by October 11, 2013.
Jane-Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP)