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Swing and a miss

oe-carbon taxes_bradford (web)Baseball season is over, yet Oshawa city council just tried to crank a home run into the seats and the bat slipped right from its hands.

The future of a South Oshawa Community Development plan was back on the agenda Monday night and with the decision to pass the lead role over to the region in place, council took the opportunity to scoop in some more responsibility on top of it.

Despite the title being the “South Oshawa” plan, council has decided to have the region look at other problem areas as well, including downtown Oshawa, arguably the neighbourhood that needs a helping hand the most.

This isn’t the right approach.

Massive, overarching plans are meant to address a direction, a guiding path for making decisions, such as the Oshawa Strategic Plan, which council likes to point to at every opportunity.

But the South Oshawa Community Development Plan isn’t one of these documents. This plan, which has been in the works for several years now, is meant to address the needs of, yeah you guessed it, south Oshawa.

It seems council, and especially Councillor Nester Pidwerbecki, was worried about the consulting fees required to make separate plans for each neighbourhood.

However, if fees were really an issue, the Blue Flag designation was a missed opportunity. Under the Blue Flag, a group would have come in at $500 and virtually assess the beach area and advise on what needs to be accomplished to bring it up to par to warrant a Blue Flag designation. Council voted against this Monday in favour of its Waterfront Master Plan, which will no doubt cost thousands.

Council wants to look at the city as a whole, rather than examine pockets. And while this is good foresight, this long-term approach won’t have a dramatic affect on areas that are suffering today.

These neighbourhoods have people with different needs, different landscapes, and different issues. Trying to cover them all under one umbrella hasn’t worked so far and will continue to leave these areas behind.

Councillor John Aker couldn’t be more right when he said this decision would “dilute” any potential plan for South Oshawa.

However, the majority of council saw an opportunity — three fastballs right down the middle, and with one massive swing, they managed to miss them all.