In 2019, the TCC created an online consultation tool to identify and engage with diverse community members to determine the programming priorities for the TCC. The survey was launched on this bilingual (English and Tamil) website to address potential language barriers. The meeting minutes can also be found on this site to ensure that accountability and transparency of the Steering Committee’s mandate are maintained and upheld. This information was publicly broadcasted through social media advertisements, pamphlets distribution, as well as coverage through conventional media outlets such as radio, television and newspapers to maximize the reach of engaging with community members and incorporating their feedback.
The Steering Committee then compressed the data that was submitted to determine what the community identified as their top priorities, to share with the community and to begin the process of in depth consultation. The priorities identified here were an auditorium, gym, mental health services, history and archival space/genocide museum, library, women’s services and disability programming (Fig. 8).
Data based on 1114 consultations
Fig. 8 Results of community consultation outlining priorities of programming needs.
The online consultation tool, as well as in-person public consultations, gathered data from community members as well as community organizations with diverse mandates designed to address various community needs. It helped identify stakeholder priorities and set the parameters for the project. The consultation process was able to reach community members across age and gender ranges (Fig. 9), which made the resulting data more useful and viable.
Fig. 9 Representation of age and gender breakdown among consultation survey respondents. Total respondants: 955
The majority of respondents of the survey (close to 60%) were seen to be residing in north east Scarborough, a location lacking in designated Neighbourhood Improvement Areas, public resources and facilities for communities to access. Data and maps outlining this service gap can be found below in (Fig. 4 and 5). This was seen to correspond with both existing and emerging research data on the need for public services in these same low income, densely populated neighbourhoods, with a large number of new immigrant families, single parent households, and/or individuals with socio-economic barriers.
In April 2018, the Toronto City Council unanimously passed a motion authorizing City staff to work with the Tamil community to explore potential partnerships for a new community recreation centre. Since then, through engagement with the City of Toronto’s Mayor’s ’s Office and CreateTO, the Committee has been working on the necessary approvals to secure the land by late spring of 2020.