The Riverwalk project, and the difference between jargon and ideas 

I won’t repeat  what I’ve already written about slogans, jargon and empty political promises, as I imagine you don’t care to read it again. Rather, this is to highlight the difference between a slogan (which signifies nothing) and a plan (which we need more of).

It’s all about this: We’ve been promised a “Riverwalk” and been told it’ll be a “Game Changer”.  The slogan and promise look exactly like this: 

It is a beautiful rendering of a lofty promise.  ​

So what’s my beef this time? Why do I call this project empty jargon? What’s wrong with that picture, exactly?
Simple. Downtown Brampton Already Has a Riverwalk! You can see it for yourself in this video: 

Just like the artist rendering, its full of life and people, and well, actually and truthfully, Bramptonians mostly just seem to ignore it. 

We need to build another one like we need another slogan; as in, not at all. What  we need to do is put the existing riverwalk  to its best use. And for that, we need an actual plan. After all, without a plan, we’ll just have two Riverwalks with no one around to enjoy them. 

Much like the first picture highlights, for the Riverwalk to attract people, there needs to be architectural features. Port credit did this to their waterfront. Seating areas, landscaping, and a little elbow grease went a long way. 

It also needs some much needed density. Single family detached housing is not the highest and best use of adjoining lands. The feature (the Riverwalk) is already there. Amend the zoning (don’t wait for a developer to do it at their own expense) to allow more people to live there. Convert the scarsely used soccer fields to High Density mixed used zoning. Change the street (Ken Whillans Dr.) to a single lane one way street. Work with Kingspoint Plaza owners to expand the commercial district on the North to supportive uses. Run a bus route to create drop off and pick up points at each end. License food trucks to operate in and around Dugan Park. License bike and inline skate rental kiosks. That park is the gateway to the Etobicoke Creek trail that runs all the way to Valleywood. 

There is no reason the existing Riverwalk can’t be everything you see in that first picture. Well, except for the fact we have no plan to make it a reality.  Their only plan is to “just build it, build it and they will come.” The whole plan is to carve a new section of “Riverwalk” into the diversion channel and call it a Game Changer.  Mission Accompished. Status Quo disrupted. 

Why build a new one instead making the existing one work better? You know why.  One takes effort, vision and hard work. The other just takes money. And it’s not their money we are talking about. So who cares that they could accomplish the exact same thing less than 300 meters north of where they are promising it will be for pennies on the dollars? Just build it! Once it’s built it’ll just magically transform Brampton into a world class hot spot and we’ll frankly just collapse from over exposure to pure awesomeness. 

It’s not a plan. It’s a slogan. 

A promise made by a group of people who neither know this city, nor truly care for it,” truth be told. It’s all just lazy promises made with our cheque books in the name of building legacy vanity projects to pad their political resumes.

In 2018, ask any candidate knocking on your door where they would build a Riverwalk. And think very carefully about anyone who tells you it has be built south of Queen Street. This isn’t Duffy’s Corners anymore, it’s time we recognize that and start to grow outward. 

We have a Riverwalk (or 2 or 3 come to think of it). Let’s expect better of our candidates than just more uneccesary spending.  

#Mayorjackson2018 just outlined his plans. 

What are theirs? 

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