G20 conversations: inside the fenceby Pras Rajagopalan
Monday, Jun. 14, 2010
This is the first in a series of conversations with Toronto residents directly affected by the G20 summit that will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from June 26-27. I spoke to Kay Takashima, who lives at 33 University Ave., a 27-storey condominium building at University and Wellington. The building is inside the inner security zone - which means you need a government-issued security pass to access it. Neither Takashima nor any of the other residents in her building have received the passes.
The following transcript is a condensed and abridged version of my interview with her:
Have you been issued a security pass to expedite your passage through the security zone?
Absolutely not [as of Thursday evening]. It was supposed to be that we would be handed our passes three weeks prior to the G20. We are already [at] two weeks. We have not had any communication as to when we may expect them...our condominium management did say that they have sent all the names of all the people in the condo to be screened, I would imagine.
However, no-one has come to say, well, they are late, but they will be forthcoming. Because it's not just myself - there are quite a few of the residents in the building that are very concerned. We've also not been told can we walk about within the fenced area or do we stay shut up in the condo?
[UPDATE: As of noon Monday, residents in the building had yet to receive any passes.]
How is your everyday life going to be affected in the week leading up to the summit?
That's another thing. We have absolutely no idea. We thought, well, 'Do we go out of the cottage? When is the last day that we can get our car out of the garage because we're in a fenced area?' But nothing has been said.
What would you like the authorities to do to make your life easier?
I would like to see some information - especially some valid security information being given to the residents.
What do you make of the location of the G20 summit in downtown Toronto?
I think as far as for convenience for them - yes. Convenience for the whole city of Toronto? Bad. It could have been anywhere.
But I think the amount of money they had to spend to have it where they are having it is absolutely ludicrous. It would have paid for all the programs that are so short funded or have absolutely no funding, like the disabled, the mentally ill who have no money.
Will this bring back the money? Definitely not. Will it put Toronto on the map? I don't think so.
Do you see any benefits from having the summit here?
No. Not as far as I'm concerned. Absolutely none at all. If I'm supposed to say 'Oh, Toronto had the summit,' I think it may have been beneficial -- but when you see a price tag of [$1.2 billion], then you think, no. There isn't anything good that can come of it.
- Flashdance: G20 style
- Flash mob protests G20
- G20 conversations: No fixed address
- What one homeless man is experiencing ahead of the summit
- Saplings uprooted in the name of security
- Action taken to ward off attacks by rowdy protesters
- G20 conversations: working the crane
- The summit halts contruction
- G20 conversations: under the station
- Union Station dry cleaner plans to remain open ahead of summit
- Businesses around G20 'cannot afford to close'
- Businesses offer deals to entice customers
- G20 conversations: inside the fence
- A downtown resident talks about the summit
- A week of G20 preparation
- Security measures affecting city life.
- A blast from Toronto's summit past
- A look at a Toronto summit from 22 years ago
- No more G20 pass accreditation
- ISU not accepting any more G20 pass requests
- Excuse me sir, this is a no-kite zone
- Most flights OK during summits, but kites banned
- Talking G20 at the chip truck
- Street vendors asked to take a break
- (Most) bike rings will stay during summit
- (Most) bike rings here to stay during summit
- A little clarity for pedestrians and cyclists
- Pedestrians and cyclists will have to navigate police checkpoints
- The media descends on a G20 protest
- Press outnumber demonstrators at event
- Our G20 Blogger
- Pras Rajagopalan is interested in city politics, urban planning, and your used Krautrock LPs.
When the opportunity came to cover the impact of the G20 summit on everyday life in Toronto, he jumped at the chance.