Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Regent Park: Renaissance or Rip Off?

400 Households have been demolished and almost 1200 residents have been relocated. With the new developer yet to be announced as of publication, it isn’t clear whether the new Stephen Harper government will even follow through on the previous arrangements for Federal funding to urban centres. That’s no small problem when one considers that the entire redevelopment plan concocted by the Toronto Community Housing Corporation and City Hall, depends on 90 million dollars in Provincial and Federal funding. Many remain justifiably skeptical about the motives behind this. As it stands, the whole plan will actually reduce the number of rent geared to income units in Regent, and turn over sections of the Park to private condo developers and commercial businesses.

The first phase is no exception as most of the units built will be for market rate sale. While the idea of a new look and some building upgrades has appeal, was it really necessary to sneak in a back door partial gentrification? Is this the pill we are supposed to swallow just in order to get building disrepair addressed? It’s high time, and still not too late for an organized community response.