Waterfront for All – Statement in response to the Auditor General’s report on Waterfront Toronto

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December 5, 2018 – For Immediate Release

In light of today’s 2018 annual report of the Auditor General of Ontario, Waterfront for All has had the opportunity to reflect on the value for money delivered by Waterfront Toronto.

Waterfront Toronto was created in 2001 to address nearly a century of failed plans to revitalize Toronto’s waterfront. In less than 20 years, it has transformed the central waterfront through a myriad of projects including the redesign of Queens Quay and the water’s edge promenade, and award-winning parks such as Corktown Common and Sugar Beach. It has created a master plan for the new West Don Lands and East Bayfront
neighbourhoods and initiated the Don Mouth naturalization and flood protection project, one of the largest infrastructure projects in Canada. According to the Ministry of Infrastructure, these projects have resulted in $4.1 billion in economic output and $2.6 billion in development value from an initial investment of $1.5 billion.

Waterfront Toronto has earned our respect. Many of Waterfront for All’s members have worked closely with Waterfront Toronto over this period. A number of our members had the opportunity to contribute our positive perspective to the Auditor General’s review. The Auditor General has identified some critical constraints under which Waterfront Toronto has had to work, including limited autonomy and control of its subject lands,
and the lack of a consistently clear mandate relative to other government agencies. In spite of those constraints, it is our view that Waterfront Toronto’s performance has exceeded expectations.

We believe that the Quayside project has the potential to merge the best of urban planning and technology in a manner that will improve sustainability, equity, and the quality of urban life. Through this project, Toronto has the opportunity to lead in the development of a complete community that meets 21st century needs for climate positive and socially inclusive development while maintaining Waterfront Toronto’s
commitment to design excellence.

Waterfront Toronto should be commended for leadership that is providing a catalyst and focus for discussions of digital governance policy that are long overdue. We look to its three government sponsors to step up in support of the development of a robust framework for data collection and policy. It is critically important for all three levels of
government that the momentum of this project, other Waterfront Toronto initiatives, not be lost.

Waterfront for All is a community-based coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to preserving and enhancing the entire Toronto waterfront as a unique natural and cultural resource for everyone to enjoy, from the Rouge River to Etobicoke Creek.

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