No word of a lie….these .words were stated by one of my colleagues last week during Toronto City Council as we debated the merits and to some….and the crazy idea to others of building a park at Bathurst and Queen!
We also spent part of the same day as the 6th largest government in Canada (who knew?) debating the joys of whether or not a single tree should live or die. On the floor of Toronto City Council. A debate I would have hoped 20 years in to the amalgamated life of the City of Toronto we would have left back on the floor of the appropriate Community Council.
For the entire report you can find it here: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2017.TE23.5
In a nutshell? A polluted piece of land, just over 2.5 acres in size, in an area considered by the City of Toronto to be “parkland deficient”.
On one side Build Toronto who felt once remediation of the property was done, it could probably be sold for about $50 million an acre. On the other side Councillor Mike Layton who would like to see the site cleaned up, a clay cap put on it for $5 million, and there you have it a new park!
Build Toronto pegged the clean-up at between $25 -30 million dollars to make it pristine enough to sell. One developer was interested about 5 years ago and took a pass when they saw the price tag. There is also the small issue of it having to fit in with the adjacent Fort York National Historic site.
And I don’t what many people know about cleaning up contaminated land, but developers would expect the municipal government to clean it up. Which isn’t going to happen.
Another little ditty for people….Toronto City Council is divided up in to four community Councils. Each Community Council district has a reserve fund (like a bank account) for the sole purpose of buying parkland. It can be used for no other reason than buying parkland. When the City of Toronto receives monies from development charges, a certain percentage from each application goes to the Parkland Acquisition Account.
So, when you look at all the dynamics and what can be achieved by remediation of the 2 acres of property at Bathurst Street and Lakeshore Boulevard using the Parkland Acquisition Reserve Account to purchase the site made perfect sense. And the majority of City Councillors, including myself thought so too.. Park land approved….on to the Great Tree Debate!
And to answer my colleague’s question: “Do we have too many parks in Toronto?” The answer….”No” (In case you were wondering? There are 1, 600 parks in the City of Toronto!!)
All my Best,