Lake Macquarie residents have used a petition against a major development plan for Toronto foreshore to convey how important open waterfront space is for the community, with one mother labelling the Bath Street site the “special place” she had taken her children since they were babies.
Toronto Foreshore Protection Group’s petition against Lake Macquarie City Council’s plan for a four-to-six storey residential, tourism and business development on the foreshore was tabled at this week’s council meeting.
It comes after council decided in April to prepare a development application for the two foreshore blocks on Bath Street, which the city owns. The decision sparked vocal backlash from parts of the Lake Macquarie community, with hundreds attending a public meeting at Toronto to air their concerns in September.
The petition presented to council this week contained 5295 signatures and 194 comments. More than half the signatures were obtained using a hard copy petition, while almost 2000 people signed online via the website Change.org.
The petition called for the land to be reclassified as community parkland to, in part, protect the foreshore for the community and ensure there were “adequate public recreation facilities to accommodate Toronto’s future population growth and existing businesses”.
Many of the comments lamented the possibility that public waterfront space would be lost.
“I have been taking my children there since they were babies,” Kim Robl wrote. “I only have to say meet me at our special place and they know where it is.”
Carey Bay resident Julie Streeter wrote: “We have so little foreshore in Toronto, please keep what little we have for our community to enjoy.”
Read more: Battleground for Toronto’s future
Lynden Jacobi wrote that he believed the site was “important open recreational space near the lake”.
“Tall buildings, if needed, should be set back away from the lake shore,” he wrote.
Council has previously said the Toronto development would occupy about 10 per cent of the area and the remainder would be recreational space.
Council also said $9 million worth of improvements to access and amenities were earmarked for the foreshore between Goffet Park and Bath Street as part of the plan.