Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute
The possible closing of Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute provides an opportunity to showcase a community hub consultation process
By Bob Spencer
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is being forced by the Liberal government to close approximately sixty schools. The decision on what to do with each site will be determined after public consultation by the board's Toronto Land Corporation (TLC).
The closing of Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute provides an opportunity to showcase a community hub consultation process. Based on the 2011 National Housing survey, the Eastern Commerce school area has slightly higher income levels with more postgraduate population and a larger younger age group than the rest of Toronto. At a September community meeting in the Blake-Jones pocket, attendees discussed the school's closing and possible community hub proposals. A community hub can include public services such as daycare, libraries, adult education, social support programs, multi-generational development, local retail, green energy, ecological waste management and a ground source energy centre. A former senior civil servant, grandmother of two local children, said: "Eastern Commerce must be retained, not sold or developed as a site for new construction, but redeveloped as an affordable community centre and be energy sustainable." She felt that the addition of a community micro-grid supported by renewable energy sources could provide cost savings and improve community links.
The Ward 15 school trustee, Jennifer Story, will be asked to consider these ideas as she works on the plan for Eastern Commerce. If she is committed to democratic involvement and community consultation she can, as David Clandfield notes above, "make a real difference in the planning and establishment of an effective community hub."
The Bluffs Advocate will bring you updates as this important process develops.