The first step toward developing a shared vision for how the Jane Finch Mall site can continue to play an important role in our neighbourhood was Round 1 of our Community Engagement and Outreach, focused on listening.
Round 2 of our Community Engagement and Outreach was designed to reflect upon what was heard and continue digging deeper. From October 4, 2021 to December 4, 2021, this eight-week engagement period focused on making sure we accurately understood what the community had told us, confirming key themes and insights gathered in Round 1 and reflecting these back to community members and organizations, while continuing to gather more information.
The confirmation and exploration of these key themes will provide guidance to the project team on community issues and priorities for the redevelopment process.
Here's how it happened:
Our engagement team of nearly a dozen members, all of whom have deep roots in our community, and are passionate about our neighbourhood's future used a range of platforms to connect with over 600 community members. This included:
- Small group discussions with 35 agencies, organizations, schools, network tables, and grassroots groups representing a variety of demographics within our community
- Individual discussions though direct, one-on-one outreach and community connections
- Over 200 visitors to the Mall storefront space
Here's what we heard, boiled down into seven key themes:
- A gathering space. The Mall is an important central location in the neighbourhood where community members gather and connect. It's important to people that the future Mall site continues to make space for gathering and community connections.
- Community space and community services. Access to unprogrammed space and to effective services supports community building and civic engagement and needs to be included in the plan for the future.
- Economic opportunities. There is a need to increase economic opportunities within the community, especially for youth. Community members see jobs, opportunities, and local economic development in the community as an important part of the process and the finished redevelopment.
- Physical improvements & greening. Redevelopment can present opportunities to make physical improvements to the neighbourhood through attractive, well-designed spaces with more modern buildings. Parks and greenspace in the community are valued but could use improvements and be more family friendly and include residents in planning and design.
- Preserving & enhancing local history & culture. The redevelopment process should include initiatives that maintain and build on neighbourhood history and culture, preserve community identity, and include local artists in the design and execution of beautification efforts
- Challenges. Community members are hopeful about positive changes that come with development but are also concerned that change will make it less affordable for them to live, work, and shop in the neighbourhood.
- Making it real. Residents were optimistic about the process but remain vigilant, eager to see real outcomes that confirm the initially positive and responsive process will deliver meaningful benefits to the community.
In summary, our Round 1 and Round 2 Community Engagement and Outreach efforts have provided a solid introduction to the process of planning improvements to the Site for community members. Key themes, issues, and priorities have been identified through the consultations that will serve as the starting point for the planning process.
There is a strong desire and willingness from individual Jane and Finch community members, as well as agencies and organizations, to continue to be engaged and help shape the future of the Site. Notwithstanding some concerns about the impacts of development, there is a clear sense of hope and optimism about the project.
We will continue our commitment to inclusive engagement processes and ongoing and open communication that shows residents that they are heard, and concrete outcomes that show their input had an impact. Stay informed about future engagement and outreach updates on our News & Events page. You can also sign up for our newsletter to receive notifications as news, events and other content are added to our site.