Former industrial land on Toronto waterfront to get $1.2B makeover
Much of the city's Port Lands once housed heavy industry, but years of underutilization has left a number of brownfield sites along Lake Ontario
TORONTO—A portion of Toronto’s waterfront is set to undergo a nearly $1.2 billion flood protection project that will lead to a makeover of the area.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mayor John Tory announced the Toronto Port Lands Flood Protection project at a joint news conference June 28.
Trudeau said global warming over the past decade has resulted in increased flooding in urban areas. He said the project will provide flood protection for 240 hectares of land through the creation of a naturalized mouth for the Don River.
It will also help clean up contaminated soil, unlock underused industrial land for development, and establish new aquatic habitats and wetlands that support native species.
“It’s estimated that as many as 1,500 jobs will be created during the cleanup and development phases,” Trudeau said.
Wynne said the project uses a model proven successful in other waterfront communities.
“We are on our way to building a new neighbourhood that will be a vibrant place to live—a hub for good jobs and economic growth, and a mixed-use community that can be accessed and enjoyed by all,” she said.
The plan calls for the long-term transformation of the Port Lands into mixed-use communities with residential and commercial development surrounded by parks and green space. Much of the area once housed heavy industry, leaving a number of brownfield sites.
The federal government will contribute up to $384 million to the $1.185 billion project, while Ontario and the City of Toronto will each contribute more than $400 million.
The project, which is expected to take about seven years to complete, will have four main components.
Extensive earth work—1.5 million cubic metres of excavated soil, additional soil remediation and handling, and placement of excavated soil—will create more than 1,000 metres of naturalized river valley, a new greenway, and a sediment management area.
The second component will involve the installation of municipal infrastructure—water mains, wastewater, storm sewers—and the creation of roads and a transit right-of-way.
The third component will include the construction of three new bridges and the extension of the Lake Shore Boulevard bridge to create a wider opening over the Don River.
The final component will create a new naturalized area in the river valley, including about 14 hectares of aquatic habitat.
The project will “unlock the potential of underutilized waterfront lands, protect the area from flooding and support Toronto’s long-term growth by creating new parks, natural areas, and mixed-use neighbourhoods,” Tory said.