GUELPH POLITICAST #233 – Parks or Wreck

Despite conventional wisdom about there being no news in August, over 100 people went to Margaret Greene Park last week to confront City councillors, staff, and Metrolinx reps about a plan to build a traction power substation in a portion of the park. The events in the west end capture in a microcosm of big concerns about public engagement, and development running roughshod over neighbourhood concerns.

As you’ve surely heard,  Metrolinx, the crown corporation that owns and operates GO Transit, posted a virtual town hall outlining their plan to electrify the Kitchener GO Train line. One slide identified the placement of something called a traction power substation, or TPS, on a trail that runs from Margaret Greene Park behind some residential homes on Ferman Drive. The infrastructure, which is usually the size of cargo container, will change the shape of the park, and the implications did not go unnoticed.

The way that Metrolinx has handled this public engagement, and the behind the scenes discussions with City staff on the placement of the TPS that even seemed to catch Ward 4’s councillors unawares, has fit into an increasing common narrative. For years, people have been feeling more and more cut out of the planning process, and in the case of Margaret Greene Park people are no longer willing to stand for it. This week, we’ve got two people who are standing up to Metrolinx.

This week’s guests are Crenda King and Ashley Lewis who both live in the neighbourhoods around Margaret Greene Park, and they both have a new found sense of political activism to protect this area that means so much to them and their families. This week’s podcast will take you to the park where King and Lewis will talk about their concerns, their thoughts about the process so far, and whether or not they trust City Hall, Metrolinx, and other authorities to respect their point of view when it comes to the fate of their beloved neighborhood park.

So let’s go to the park and talk about how to save it on this week’s Guelph Politicast!

Metrolinx has extended the deadline for the virtual town hall until August 28, and you can find those materials and leave your input here. And you can keep up with the fight to protect Margaret Greene Park at the “Save Our Greenspace: Margaret Greene Park” Facebook page here.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here, or download them on your favourite podcast app at iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.

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