benny farm task force retreat

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                 FINAL REPORT TO


                                      July 2008


        One has few opportunities in a lifetime to participate in something that makes a difference in the
        life of so many people. The Benny Farm project was just such an opportunity, providing affordable
        housing and services for over 500 families. It has been a joy and privilege for all of us to be part of
        the Benny Farm Task Force for these past six years. We would like to thank Canada Lands for the
        trust that it placed in us and in the community in planning and implementing a project that is truly
        unique, not just in Montreal, but, as Avi Friedman has said, “in the world”.

        We appreciate the leadership Canada Lands
        showed in undertaking genuine consultation,
        that it was so open and responsive to the needs
        of the community and that it had the skill to
        bring to fruition a vision that the community
        alone could not have achieved.

        At our final meeting on June 13 2008, we
        discussed our successes and the lessons learned
        from our experience with the Benny Farm Task
        Force. We have prepared the attached report
        based on that meeting and other discussions
        over the past six years.

        We believe that the Benny Farm experience can
        serve CLC well as it embarks on its major role in the redevelopment of the Montreal waterfront.

        ___________________                                  _____________________
        Metu Belatchew                                       Rosemary Bradley

        ___________________                                  ____________________
        Ken Briscoe                                          Miriam Green

        ___________________                                  _____________________
        Necdet Kendir                                        Zane Korytko

        ___________________                                  _____________________
        Ghislaine Prata                                      Linda Schachtler

        ___________________                                  __________________
        Gail Tedstone                                        Arlyle Waring


        A. Background

        For over ten years, plans for the redevelopment of the Benny Farm veterans lands had
        been the subject of controversy within the Cote des Neiges/Notre Dame de Grace
        Borough (NDG) of Montreal. In 1999, Canada Lands Company CLC Limited (CLC)
        acquired ownership of the property from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
        (CMHC). CMHC had prepared plans and obtained zoning approval for a high density,
        market priced housing development, but opposition from the community prevented the
        plans from being implemented. There was controversy over a wide range of issues such
        as the mix of housing (market vs. affordable), density, housing vs. services, use of existing
        buildings (demolish vs. renovate) and conditions for veterans still on the site.

        These conflicting opinions were too entrenched to reach consensus without the
        development of common objectives to guide plans and consultations with the
        community. In July 2002, CLC hired Jacques Bénard, then a director of CIRQ and later of
        Convercité, to act as a consultant with the mandate to put together a task force that
        would be representative of the diversity of opinions on the future of Benny Farm.

        The Benny Farm Task Force was formed in September 2002 with a mandate to:

              1. Establish guiding principles and objectives for the redevelopment;
              2. Provide advice to CLC on the issues to be considered in developing plans;
              3. Provide advice to CLC on the appropriateness of plans to be presented to the
                 City for approval of zoning and subdivision.

        It was expected that Task Force participants would be able to discharge their mandate in
        about three months. Indeed, the Mayor of Montreal was anxious for a speedy resolution
        of the problem. As will be seen below, this initial mandate would be expanded to take on
        other responsibilities. The Task Force would continue to function for almost six years
        without a change in membership.


        B. Task Force Members
        The Task Force consisted of the following individuals from NDG:

        Metu Belatchew, CLSC NDG/Montreal West
        Rosemary Bradley, Benny Farm veterans
        Ken Briscoe, Community representative
        Miriam Green, President, Fonds Foncier Communautaire Benny Farm
        Necdet Kendir, President, Sherbrooke West Merchants Association
        Zane Korytko, Director, NDG YMCA
        Ghislaine Prata, Executive Director, Constance-Lethbridge Rehabilitation Centre
        Linda Schachtler, Executive Director, Elizabeth House
        Gail Tedstone, NDG Community Council
        Arlyle Waring, Community representative

        In addition, Jim Lynes, Vice President, Real Estate, CLC (and later A/President),
        represented the owner. For the first six months, Cameron Charlebois, DG Economic
        Development, City of Montreal, attended as an observer from the City, the body that
        would ultimately approve the plan.

        The Task Force was supported by Jacques Bénard who acted as facilitator for all
        meetings. Basil Cavis and Johanne Boucher of CLC’s Montreal office were responsible for
        the development of the plan, obtaining approvals and the execution of the project. They
        attended all Task Force meetings.

        C. Task Force History
        The Task Force met 40 times from September 2002 to its final wrap up retreat in June
        2008. Early meetings involved the identification of issues, briefings from various experts
        on such topics as affordable housing, social housing and information on the various target

        By October 2002, the Task Force had developed ten guiding principles for the
        redevelopment of the Benny Farm site along with more detailed objectives. In all cases,
        there was total commitment from all Task Force members on the objectives. If one
        member wasn’t able to accept an objective, it was revised until there was agreement.

        Four architectural firms, Daoust Lestage, Atelier BRAQ, Saia Barbarese
        Topouzanov/Claude Cormier and l’OEUF, were invited to propose design alternatives
        which responded to the guiding principles and objectives. These alternatives were
        presented to the community on October 30, 2002 with over 400 people in attendance.
        The Task Force selected the proposal by Saia Barbarese Topouzanov as the preferred

        option. In November 2002, the Task Force issued a series of recommendations for
        modifications to the preferred option to improve its adherence to the objectives and
        guiding principles.

        The revised plan was submitted to the City for approval in February 2003. The plan was
        subject to a public consultation process by the Office de la Consultation Publique de
        Montréal. After two days of hearings with over fifty interveners, the Office
        recommended approval of the plan. Zoning and subdivision were finally approved by the
        City of Montréal in February 2004. Throughout the municipal approval process, the Task
        Force met regularly. They continued to act as intermediaries between the community
        and CLC and as advocates for the plan with city officials and politicians.

        Following approval of the plan in February 2004, the Task Force remained active in raising
        issues of public concern, in lobbying politicians on implementation issues such as the
        acquisition of land for community services and in ensuring that targeted groups, such as
        Tango, were able to acquire property on the site.

        In 2006, the Canadian Urban Institute awarded the Task Force the Urban Leadership
        Award in the City Renewal Category. This national award recognizes the exemplary
        contribution of individuals in the revitalization and renewal of cities. The Canadian Urban
        Institute highlighted the influence of the Benny Farm Task Force in their promotion of
        attitudinal change, encouragement of public participation and transformation of the
        urban landscape for future generations.

        The last meeting of the Task Force was held on June 13, 2008. The purpose of the
        meeting was to identify lessons learned from the Benny Farm redevelopment experience.

        D. Task Force Meetings

        The success of the Task Force can be ascribed to a number of factors:

        1. Choice of Task Force Members

        There were strong voices in the community with opposing visions for Benny Farm. The
        complexity of the issue arose, not because the community opposed development, but
        because groups had laboured over the previous decade in proposing various and
        opposing scenarios for redevelopment. It was essential that the various visions being
        expressed find a voice at the Task Force table and that the community institutions were
        represented. As such, representatives were sought who could make the case for such
        issues as housing, affordable housing, market housing, services, community facilities and

        With a very large number of groups implicated, it was necessary to find a smaller number
        who would be representative of the various opposing views. It was also necessary to find

        Task Force members who were not so entrenched in their position that they could not
        negotiate a reasonable accommodation. Jacques Bénard interviewed a wide range of
        representatives and recommended a list of candidates to CLC.

        There was some criticism at the outset over the selection process in that it was not a
        “democratic” selection by concerned stakeholder organizations. Criticism quickly waned
        when it became obvious that Task Force members were actually shaping the objectives
        and plans for the site. Although CLC made the decisions on the selection of Task Force
        members, it showed considerable sensitivity to the dynamics of the community in
        ensuring that the selection would be generally viewed by others as representative and
        inclusive. Members from specific organizations or interest groups were chosen not for
        their position in the organization but for their ability to work cooperatively in building a
        consensus. (Notwithstanding this approach, many Task Force members were the senior
        representative of their organization.) Members did not come with titles or authority, but
        were effective by the power of their influence.

        Task Force members were all passionate about the project. The ten original community
        members, the consultant and CLC staff did not change throughout the entire life of the
        Task Force. This definitely created a sense of team, provided continuity and enabled the
        development of trust among Task Force members and between the Task Force and CLC.

        Another important point in achieving consensus was that Task Force members
        participated as individuals, not as representatives of their respective organizations. As
        such, while they advocated for their organization’s perspective, they were not
        committing their organization to support the consensus
        achieved by the Task Force. This freed them to move to
                                                                               “It was important to bring
        commonly agreed solutions that might not otherwise have                 Task Force members to
        been possible. Differences of opinion became irrelevant as            recognize that the views of
        the Task Force became a team with the common objective of            others were important. Each
        solving the Benny Farm conundrum.                                       position was important.
                                                                                 None was wrong”
        2. Conduct of Task Force Meetings                                        Metu Belatchew

        There was no chairperson. Meetings were facilitated by
        Jacques Bénard as a consultant to the Task Force. (Although
        Jacques was hired and paid by CLC as a consultant, he was
        always perceived as an independent and objective third party
        both by Task Force members and by the community.) Task
        Force members credit his skill as a facilitator as one of the
        major factors in reaching consensus.

        The facilitator sought always to ensure that voices were
        heard, that all were given a chance to speak to an issue and
        that no position was wrong. Much effort was spent on

        bringing Task Force members to recognize that opposing views were also legitimate.
        Meetings were long, particularly at the beginning of the process. Meetings provided
        coffee breaks and lunches where Task Force members could start to engage their
        colleagues on a personal level. The intensity of the early meetings convinced Task Force
        members that they had to come to a solution. Although that solution was not
        immediately obvious, it was quickly realized that there would have to be accommodation
        in order to achieve success.

        Task Force decisions and recommendations were made on the basis of solid evidence
        rather than on opinion. Experts were brought in to inform Task Force members on issues
        and options. Task Force members thought that this was essential in leading to a common
        understanding of issues.

        3. Decision Making

        The Task Force was an advisory body. Decisions were still retained by CLC, but CLC
        followed the consensus in most cases. On the rare occasions where CLC could not
        support the consensus of the Task Force, it did so for reasons of economics, practicality or
        mandate constraints. Task Force members always understood the reasons for CLC’s
        decisions and recognized that their voices had been heard in shaping the decision.

        Decisions were not taken unless members were ready to agree. It should be recognized
        that sometimes Task Force members had to move a long way from their original
        positions. There was a social cost of participation for members who were accused of
        abandoning the groups they were supposed to represent. In such an environment, it was
        important that all members felt comfortable with the decision and committed to
        supporting it. Suspending a decision, to give members time to come to grips with it, or to
        allow the decision to be further modifies, allowed greater consensus to be achieved.

        The process of ratifying decisions and recommendations involved obtaining confirmation
        from all Task Force members, individual by individual. This ensured buy in and
        commitment from every member.


        D. Successes

        1. Social Balance

        One of the Task Force’s guiding principles was to achieve a level of social diversity that
        reflects the community. Although there was considerable apprehension prior to
        construction over the social balance targets set for the project, there have been no issues
        in this regard as the project has developed either within the Benny Farm development or
        between Benny Farm and the surrounding community.

        2. Affordability

        There has been an honest commitment to the affordability targets set by the Task Force.
        While economic realities have caused initial targets to be revised, it remains true that
        Benny Farm achieved a variety of affordable housing options.
        CLC overcame such challenges as negative public opinion,                  “CLC deserves huge
        constraints in subsidy programs and the impact on overall                credit for achieving the
        project viability. Also key to the success was to attract                affordability targets set
        appropriate builders. La Société d’habitation et de                        by the Task Force.”
        développement de Montréal (SHDM) is now responsible for four
        projects. Développements McGill and Groupe Maxera are                        Miriam Green
        proving to be outstanding private sector developers in the
        construction of quality affordable housing.

        3. Target Groups

        The Task Force identified six target groups as candidates for
        subsidized housing at Benny Farm. All six had been suggested
        by the community and were candidates at the time the Fonds
        Foncier was preparing its plan. Following approval of CLC’s plan,
        the City of Montreal approved subsidies for those same six
        groups. All six have now secured housing at Benny Farm. One of the six, Tango, lacked
        the funding, influence and organizational skills necessary to act on its own. It was only
        through the direct intervention of members of the Task Force that the necessary
        organizational skills were brought to bear, that influence was exercised on approval
        authorities and that operating funding was secured.

        4. The Plan

        In spite of the divergence of opinions at the outset, everyone obtained something from
        the final plan. Everyone was satisfied that the plan was a reasonable compromise. The
        fact that the vision is actually being implemented is considered a success in itself. In
        coming to a plan, respect was paid to the history of the place and to the veterans.


        5. Authenticity of Process

        The Task Force was not set up as a public relations exercise. The Task Force had real
        influence in defining the plan. CLC was diligent in delivering what it committed to the
        Task Force and was clear in outlining what it could not do. There was an atmosphere of
        mutual respect between CLC and the Task Force. It was clear that CLC was doing all in its
        power to respond to community concerns, with the result that the Task Force was fully
        supportive of CLC when it could not meet certain demands.
                                                                           “CLC came in with an open
        Task Force members and the community believed that CLC           mind and developed the project
        was taking the exercise seriously. The level of involvement      with the Task Force. It would
        of the Vice-President/Acting President on the Task Force was       not have worked if CLC was
        evidence to all of CLC’s senior level commitment to the               just participating on a
        project. The presence of the President, the Chairman, Board       superficial level, with a preset
        members and the Minister at various events was further           agenda. CLC made promises –
        evidence of CLC support.                                          but only those it could keep.”

        CLC recognized that it needed to spend money to support                 Necdet Kendir
        the work of the Task Force. This went beyond the provision
        of lunches to include training for Task Force members on
        important issues in the redevelopment of Benny Farm, as
        well as the very significant time commitment of CLC staff.
        Perhaps of greatest importance was the support provided by
        the consultant to the entire process.

        6. Communications

        The Task Force spoke with one voice. Particularly at the
        outset, all public statements were made through the consultant. This provided
        consistency of message and removed the perception of bias that might have arisen if the
        statement were to have been made by a single Task Force member, or by CLC who might
        have been perceived as representing a given position. When the control over
        communications became more relaxed, Task Force members consistently held to the
        Task Force position rather than continue to advocate their original position. As such, the
        community saw no division or dissention within the Task Force.

        7. Abilities of CLC

        CLC had the contacts with the community and the approval authorities necessary to
        remove obstacles and get things done. It had the skills to know what needed to be done
        and marshalled the resources necessary to complete the task. It was resolute in its
        dedication to the objectives of the Task Force in refusing to compromise on issues that

        were important. Such steadfastness was required not only through the planning phase,
        but also during implementation in dealing with both the City and builders.

        E. Issues

        1. Communication

        There was often misinformation about the project. As CLC sold more and more parcels of
        land on the site, its control over information decreased and it no longer had a day to day
        presence on the site. Community members regularly turned to Task Force members for
        information. Even after six years, they continue to be viewed within the community as
        spokespersons for the project.

        The lack of an official source of accurate information reduced the ability of Task Force
        members to counter misinformation. As CLC’s influence on the site declines, it is less
        able to gather information to pass on; however, until the project is finished, there is an
        expectation that someone is in charge and that someone is able to answer questions.

        If that is not CLC, then it needs to be some other organization. Perhaps that could be the
        NDG Community Council or another community organization. The CSSS Cavendish has
        ongoing involvement in the life of the people residing on the Benny Farm site and might
        be well positioned to take on the role.

        2. Approval Process

        At the time planning proposals were being brought forward,            “Nothing is impossible with the
        the City was in the throes of working out its relationships with          right process. Everyone
        newly formed Boroughs. Initial indications were that, as a                 achieved some success.
        major project, approval for the Benny Farm project would be            Competing interests were all
        sought at the City level. As time went on, it became clear that       satisfied that it was a reasonable
        the City would only consider the proposal following                             compromise.”
        recommendations from the Borough. Unfortunately, by the
        time this became clear, the plan was well advanced without                    Zane Korytko
        the participation of Borough officials. Items which had already
        received support in principle from City officials were now being
        put back on the table by the Borough. This resulted in some
        delays and frustration. In the end, the Mayor of Montreal
        exerted considerable pressure on the Borough to complete
        their review and recommendations in a speedy manner.

        In hindsight, CLC should have been more conscious of the
        potential risks of Borough involvement in the planning process
        and should have taken steps to involve Borough officials. In
        fairness, however, it should be noted that Borough

        organizations were only just being set up and that the general confusion at the time
        made it difficult to get the Borough to focus on something that wasn’t at the time clearly
        their responsibility. The strong relationship that CLC and the Task Force had built with
        the Mayor of Montreal and City officials was key to overcoming this issue.

        3. Services

        One significant breakthrough in achieving consensus
        on the plans for the redevelopment of Benny Farm
        was the decision to include a mix of housing and
        services on the site. The services were to include a
        CLSC and a Recreation Centre. CLSC officials and
        community groups were excited by the concept of
        having the two facilities next to each other in order to
        be able to use the Recreation Centre facilities for
        rehabilitation as part of an overall “Wellness Centre”

        The City of Montreal acquired the site for the
        Recreation Centre in 2005. However, the Borough
        subsequently decided to build the Recreation Centre
        across Monkland Avenue in an existing park. This has
        left the future of the Benny Farm site uncertain,
        although the City has committed to install some
        municipal service on the site. Although action on the CLSC site was slow, the CSSS will
        acquire the site in September 2008 with construction due to be completed in 2011.

        While appropriate zoning is in place for a Recreation Centre, CLC had no mechanism by
        which to force the City to build the Recreation Centre on the Benny Farm site. As a
        municipal service, there was no opportunity to find alternative builders.

        4. Greening Benny Farm

        Consultation with the wider public revealed that the environment was a significant
        concern. This interest related not only to the renovation of existing buildings and the
        reuse of building materials, but also to energy efficiencies and the landscaped
        environment. Some of the cooperatives were also interested in using energy efficiencies
        to reduce operating costs.

        At the cooperatives’ initiative, significant energy efficiency measures were incorporated
        into the design of buildings, including solar and geo-thermal energy, natural ventilation
        and green roofs. L’OEUF, the firm responsible for greening Benny Farm, won the
        prestigious Holcim award as the top project in North America, also winning the Bronze
        Medal in Holcim’s international competition.


        Although the thought of incorporating energy efficient measures into affordable housing
        captured the imagination of many, the implementation of these initiatives has met with
        some difficulties:

                     a. CLC felt that issues around affordability and social integration created
                        enough risk with the project without the addition of green initiatives.
                        As such, CLC took no active role in dealing with green issues.

                     b. Some cooperatives lacked the skills necessary to manage more
                        complex building systems and to take corrective measures when things
                        didn’t work.

                     c. Cooperatives had no money to invest in corrective measures.

                     d. There were disagreements between designers and contractors as to
                        overall responsibility for shortcomings. In order to qualify for subsidies
                        for the construction of affordable housing, severe constraints were
                        placed by the funding authority for such subsidies on the cost of
                        construction. One significant aspect is that cooperatives had to accept
                        the lowest bid from contractors. One view is that some of the
                        contractors thus chosen had inadequate experience in the installation
                        of technologically innovative heating and ventilation systems. Another
                        view is that there were conceptual problems from the outset and that
                        the designers failed to exercise adequate oversight during construction.

                     e. Tenants who did not understand the mechanics of the systems at times
                        took actions that were counterproductive to the efficiency of the
                        system, making problems even worse.

                     f.   The negative impacts of failures of green initiatives have been
                          significant for residents, who felt that they had been used as guinea
                          pigs and for other builders trying to implement more proven
                          sustainable elements in their buildings.

                     g. Both CLC and the Task Force have felt responsible and helpless at the
                        same time.

        Implementing the green initiatives was a significant achievement, especially in the
        circumstances set out above. Unfortunately, overall successes are quickly forgotten
        when a building has no heat. Problems continue and the geo-thermal heating system has
        still not been completely implemented.


        5. Horizontal Condominium

        The original Benny Farm Veterans’ Complex was under single ownership. As such, all of
        the common spaces, including private roads and pathways, the community gardens, front
        yards and parkland along pathways, were managed by a single owner. The new plan
        called for the retention of these common spaces. CLC established a horizontal
        condominium, the Benny Farm Land Condominium, to manage all of the lands held in
        common and to ensure a standard level of maintenance. The Condominium was
        managed by representatives of each of the new landowners, with voting rights and
        financial obligations proportionate to the size of their holdings.

        As long as CLC was the majority landowner it was the de facto manager of the
        Condominium. Even after CLC was no longer the majority landowner, the CLC
        representative was elected as the president of the Condominium. In this role, CLC was
        able to make the Condominium function. But none of the cooperatives had the interest,
        and perhaps the ability, to take over this role. Although the obligations in common were
        clearly outlined at the time the cooperatives purchased their sites at Benny Farm, the
        enthusiasm for common Benny Farm interests is lacking.

        At the moment, it is the developers on site who have units under construction that are
        assuming the leadership role. They understand the implications of a poorly maintained
        site on future sales and need to ensure that the Condominium is successful. It is to be
        hoped that for those units that are under private ownership, future owners will assume
        the responsibility to ensure that the Benny Farm Land Condominium continues to
        function effectively, while encouraging the cooperatives to become more involved.

        6. Building Community

        One of the visions for the site imagined a variety of independent groups linked by the
        common experience of living at Benny Farm. The Veterans were a tight, homogeneous
        group. The new residents are not. Community building takes time and needs a space for
        interaction. At present, the only unifying feature of the new development is the
        community garden. The other major feature to build community was to be the
        Recreation Centre. Now that its construction has been delayed and is to be built off site,
        it is not likely to serve as the unifying feature that the original plan foresaw. Furthermore,
        groups now on the site are becoming used to their own independence. The Benny Farm
        Land Condominium has not worked as a vehicle for community building.

        Although the Task Force was keenly interested in the development of a sense of
        community at Benny Farm, they came to realize that there was a limit to what they could
        do and that CLC was not in the business of building capacity with cooperatives and other
        groups. Appropriate mechanisms should have been set up to build such capacity.

        Recently, the NDG Community Council obtained a grant from Centraide for the purpose
        of “promoting a sense of community among residents of the different projects on the
        Benny Farm site.”

        In contrast to the above, it should be noted that the first guiding principle developed by
        the Task Force was that the Benny Farm development should be integrated with the
        wider community. The off-site Recreation Centre may yet prove to be one of the features
        that foster the integration of Benny Farm residents with the wider community.

        7. Ongoing Task Force Mandate

        The Benny Farm Task Force was made up of such dedicated individuals that they would
        have stayed on the job until the very last unit was sold and the very last tree planted. As
        mentioned above, their influence in the community was useful in resolving issues
        throughout the entire six years of its existence. However, one may now consider whether
        that mandate should have been redefined to address other issues that now appear
        obvious, such as the whole question of community building.

        There was a debate over whether new owners should have been invited to join the Task
        Force when they acquired ownership. One argument against this was that their
        involvement would be through the Horizontal Condominium rather than the Task Force.
        There was also fear of destroying the effective group dynamic that had developed.

        In retrospect, participation by the cooperatives may have helped in the issue of
        community building. Task Force members were the visionaries for the Benny Farm
        community. Interaction between cooperatives and Task Force members might have
        helped communicate that vision and develop solutions with community organizations to
        build community.

        F. Lessons Learned

        1. Great care must be taken in the selection of Task Force members. Choose people
           who are devoted to a cause. It is very important to build a team with a common
           interest in creating a greater good for all rather than retaining a group of divergent
           interests each holding to a narrow constituency. Selecting the right people cannot be
           left to others.

        2. It is important to have an independent facilitator to ensure that all voices are heard
           and to create balance between CLC and the community. Nothing is impossible with
           the right process and a skilled objective facilitator.

        3. One can achieve consensus provided that everyone is willing to move. Intransigence
           leads to stalemate. The failure by CMHC and CLC to accommodate community

            interests prior to the establishment of the Task Force led to entrenchment of
            positions. Don’t let things get to the stage of conflict that existed before the Task

        4. If expectations are created for building community, then a structure needs to be put
           in place to handle that community building. If no such structure is put in place, the
           impact will fall back on CLC in terms of community expectations and in terms of
           public perception of responsibility for failure.

        5. Plans need to recognize the risks of shifting political priorities and competing
           demands for funds. While it is unlikely that measures could have been taken to force
           the City to build a Recreation Centre on the Benny Farm site, contingency
           development options need to be developed to ensure that the objectives of the plan
           are met.

        6. Community desires can create a situation where a development is being asked to
           achieve too much. CLC needs to know when to say “No” in order not to create
           unreasonable expectations. In saying “No”, CLC has to demonstrate that it acted
           reasonably. Whenever a community group or special interest places demands on a
           project that are beyond the mandate or capacity of CLC, CLC needs to find a
           mechanism for leaving responsibility for meeting that demand with the group placing
           the demand.

        7. Subsidy programs place severe constraints on a project in order to ensure
           affordability. Attempts to implement initiatives that fall outside of the standard
           subsidy program, such as energy efficient technologies, need to be tightly controlled.
           Great care must be exercised when selecting and managing contractors dealing with
           non standard items.

        8. It is important to minimize risk when dealing with vulnerable clientele. The example
           of problems with green technologies resulting in heating problems for seniors and
           single mothers had a significant impact on those residents and on the overall
           reputation of the project. Extensive ongoing support is required for cooperatives that
           may lack the skills necessary to operate such technologies.

        9. Regardless of the actual ownership of parcels at Benny Farm and regardless of the
           actual responsibility for events and circumstances at Benny Farm, as long as the
           project is not completed, there will continue to be public perception that CLC is in
           charge, that CLC is accountable and, if something is wrong, that it is CLC’s fault.

        10. Groups need to be flexible in modifying objectives when economic, physical,
            jurisdictional or social conditions make the achievement of that objective impossible.
            The key is to maintain the spirit of the objective (e.g. affordability) while adjusting the
            measurement criteria as required.


        11. Task Force members are voices in the community. It is of immeasurable advantage
            to CLC when those voices are supportive of CLC and its plans. CLC should take
            advantage of opportunities to use Task Force members as “missionaries” for the

        12. CLC must provide visible senior level support for key projects. If it is to set up a body
            for community consultation, it needs to support that body with adequate resources.
            It needs to enter into a relationship of trust and dare to share power.

        13. Even though the Benny Farm Task Force was set up to respond to a critical situation,
            the involvement of the community still applies to all projects. Community opinion
            should be viewed as a treasure, not a nuisance in successful urban planning.

        G. Conclusion
        There remain only four tasks for CLC:                                 “The power that a group can
                                                                              bring to bear is phenomenal.”
              a) to complete the sale of the last parcel of land to the
                 CSSS (due to close in September 2008);                             Ghislaine Prata
              b) to complete the construction of Prince-of-Wales
              c) to demolish the remaining veterans’ housing at
                 Monkland and Benny; and
              d) to complete the landscaping.

        Daring to innovate brings both risks and rewards. In the case
        of Benny Farm, there were many who thought that the project
        could not work. While there are still some bugs to work out,
        they pale in comparison to the incredible overall success of the
        project: a model for community consultation; a testament to
        the fact that community desires can be fulfilled; a model for
        social integration; and the achievement of truly affordable
        housing in a wide range of options.


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