The Community Benefits movement has empowered our Regent Park community with the tools to negotiate benefits to ensure that the main purpose of economic development is to bring measurable, permanent improvements to the lives of affected residents, particularly those in low-income neighbourhoods and communities of colour.
That process was informed by a vision and local voices, like the voice of thirteen year old Livity Hussey. In her deputation to our elected representatives at City Hall, she reminded everyone in the room that our efforts and advocacy is an attempt to impact the lived experiences of kids in the future.
Livity understands that economic tools are necessary to hold all stakeholders accountable to the investments necessary to make Regent Park a livable community in a livable city.
The Regent Park Community Benefits Coalition is driven by the community benefits movement and is supported by stakeholders and led by Regent Park residents. The Coalition encourages all stakeholders in the public sector to play a more strategic role in land use planning and urban development, and to leverage economic development subsidies toward the creation of good jobs, affordable housing, and neighborhood services that improve the quality of life for all residents.
The Coalition was formed by the Regent Park Neighborhood Association comprised of Toronto Community Housing Corporation and condominium residents, with support from community organizations and the Toronto Community Benefits Network. The Coalition’s purpose is to improve the redevelopment Request for Proposal process for strong community benefits and increased transparency for Phases 4 & 5 by negotiating a Community Benefits Agreement. The Coalition is working with community stakeholders to create long-term opportunities for residents to generate both social and financial wealth in Regent Park. Through these efforts, the Coalition wants Toronto Community Housing Corporation and the developer partner to set up key infrastructure that will continue to support the community for years to come and the means to hold them accountable through a community benefits agreement.
The Regent Park Community Benefits Coalition has devised a list of community needs contained within the Community Priorities Report that was submitted to Toronto Community Housing Corporation on October 15th, 2019. The Report builds off best practices, existing community benefits projects in Toronto and City of Toronto policies such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy (2015), Social Procurement Program (2017), and Community Benefits Framework (2019). The Report speaks on behalf of resident voices and is filtered through many community consultations, Social Development Plan working group actions and Regent Park Neighborhood Association consultations.
TCHC will use best efforts to negotiate the community benefits needs as identified in the Report during the negotiation period. During evaluation of best and final offer process, TCHC will have regard to the Report when evaluating how the developer partner will support conversations around community priorities in accordance with the appropriate rated criteria. After the BAFO is evaluated and the top-rated development partner is identified, TCHC will ensure negotiations are conducted to maximize the delivery of the community needs set out in the community priorities report document
In July 2019, city council voted to adopt a Community Benefits Framework to “co-ordinate and maximize the social and economic impacts of community benefits initiatives when the city buys, builds or provides financial incentives for construction or remediation,” as stated in a staff report. Residents of Regent park spoke in favour of investments in Regent Park through the social development plan and funding the priorities identified in the community benefits agreement through the coordination of all levels of government.
Members of the Regent Park Community benefits coalition met with elected representatives MPP Suze Morrison and staff of Member of Parliament Bill Morneau in January 2020 to secure support to fund the priorities identified by the Regent Park Community, We want developers to set up key infrastructure that will support the community for years to come and those priorities should be clearly defined.
Our community deserves better from the development of important public land that was designated to provide accessible housing and services. We can not afford a city for the homeless and millionaires. Through community action and by joining the community benefits movement, you can help us address the root cause of senseless violence that honors Ahmed Yakot and build a future that Livity Hussey and future generations can be proud of. A livable city, not a city of just millionaires.
Learn more about the Regent Park Community Benefits movement here.
It has been thirteen years since the Regent Park Social Development Plan was approved by City Council, yet there have been no financial investments in the Social Development Plan. Sign this petition to call on Toronto’s Mayor and City Councillors to support the call from community members to fund the SDP through the 2020 Budget process.