Inspiration Lakeview: Community ideas on creating a green and blue space

By Veronica Chinnick, WWF-Canada volunteer
Until recently, there was a coal-fired generation plant down on our lakeshore, but Ontario Power Generation tore the “Four Sisters” (chimneys) down a few years ago, leaving an opportunity for Mississauga to make a difference.
This 200 acre site (also including land surrounding the ex-coal plant) is a project that the city of Mississauga – with the help of Toronto-based Urban Strategies Inc. – is calling Inspiration Lakeview. Now, if you can tell from the name, it is a project that is to incorporate the lake into its design, but there are urban aspects to consider as well. Should there be any permanent buildings on the site? Should we put a limit on their height?

(c) Veronica Chinnick
What about the culture of the city? How do we create an appealing environment for those of all ages, abilities, culture and beliefs?
And of course, we cannot forget about our impact to land we place our feet on. How can we integrate the blue splendor of our shared lake? How will we access it? How will we work around the Region of Peel’s sewage treatment plant? The greenness of open spaces is also of vital importance.
Theses are questions of great importance for the success of all humanity. Well, not really… but it’s close. This project is a stepping-stone for lakefront rehabilitation worldwide.
Beginning December 2, Inspiration Lakeview had a three-day brainstorming session open to all, focusing on the four priorities; urban, culture, blue and green, complete with a 3D centrepiece of a scaled down model of Southern Mississauga. Maps were spread out and many of those who came coloured on Mylar to show how they’d like to see it done.
Three guest speakers were present with professional expertise with projects similar to Inspiration Lakeview. The first was Erik Freudenthal, a communications expert from Sweden who has seen his home in Stockholm transformed from a contaminated industrial area to a vibrant waterfront. Gail Lord, a renowned museum planner, discussed the importance of culture in the right balance with heritage. The third guest speaker was Matthew Urbanski, a landscape architect dedicated to engaging the public into spaces. He understands the importance of transforming such drab industrial locations into glorious green architecture.
Countless teams have taken on the first steps to producing something spectacular for Mississauga – an inspiration indeed.