The City of Thompson has welcomed Ontario native Matthew Boscariol into the role of director of planning and community development. Boscariol is now responsible planning and development issues within the city, and the Thompson Planning District, which for him is exciting. “I don’t try to sensationalize things that shouldn’t be sensationalized but at the end of the day when I looked at Thompson, I see areas that need to be revitalized. I see a community that needs to become reinvigorated and reintroduced to civic engagement in their community.”
The ex-City of Toronto planning and senior chair of the Toronto Transit Commission employee has two large priorities for the next year.
The first one is starting a conversation with community members, business leaders and the general public, to create an open space to have input in city matters. The second one, which will be a long-term plan, is to create a new downtown revitalization plan.
“Based on some conversations I’ve had, there’s an identity that needs to be re-established. When you come to a city you have a picture of it, and some indicator of it, and usually it’s a downtown picture of it. I have looked and searched and I don’t see that here,” Boscariol went on to explain that he had read previous similar plans that were never followed through with. He plans to do the follow-through. The hope is to create a downtown space people want to spend time in and not avoid, which is what he believes is happening in Thompson.
In his few short weeks since moving to the north, the Boscariol says he’s been meeting with community groups and members, and will continue to do that. “I’m just very excited to learn more about the community. I believe that the fabric of great planning is about the history of the community, and the traditions and culture. I’m excited to learn more about it, converse with community members, and learn about their needs and concerns.”
Although Boscariol has come from Ontario, he hopes people realize that his perspective isn’t solely an Ontario one. “I bring to the table a perspective of building cities and places and spaces that matter. Also knowing all the different details in doing that. That goes for the City of Toronto, the City of Kitchener, where I’m from, I also went to school in Ottawa and worked there as well. Different communities have different perspectives, so it doesn’t mean I come with a Toronto perspective or an Ontario perspective. I come with a perspective of collaboration.”