Broadview to be new transit hub Over 100,000 person years of employment created by Broadview plan

Dennis Hanagan –

A new “Union Station” is envisioned for Downtown Toronto’s east end near the Don River, according to the CEO of First Gulf Corp.

David Gerofsky spoke in the Distillery District March 25 during a public discussion called Waterfront Roads, Rails & Redevelopment organized by Toronto Centre MPP Glen Murray.

“The plan is to extend Broadview (with an LRT) south down to the Portlands and open up the Portlands to create a new multi-mobile transit hub right where the GO tracks and Broadview intersect and at that location the plan is to build what we’re calling ‘Union Station East,’” Gerofsky said.

The hub would have GO transit at the top, a Broadview LRT at grade and a new subway station.

Waterfront Toronto president John Campbell also spoke at the meeting. He, Gerofsky and Murray all insisted new public transit is vital to make Toronto’s eastern waterfront a robust economic and residential community.

Quoting data from Price Waterhouse Coopers, Gerofsky said new development in the area will create 100,000 person years of employment annually and pay $1.4 billion in annual tax revenue to the feds, the province and the city.

Gerofsky said when the revitalization of Union Station on Front St. is complete it will be at capacity in two years. “There needs to be other transit alternatives. This is what big cities do. The entire city can’t go through one transit hub,” Gerofsky said.

The newly-developed east waterfront “will have a major, major impact on the ability of Toronto to compete with other cities across the world,” he added.

Gerofsky said Toronto isn’t just competing with Mississauga or Calgary anymore. “Today, we’re in a global competition for the best minds, the best workers, the best employers, the best ideas. It’s us versus New York, London, San Francisco, Boston.”

He referred to Coca Cola’s new Canadian headquarters that recently located in the Toronto Sun building on King St. E. “It shows Toronto is in this world-wide competition for jobs and graduates and employers and we have to be cognizant of the fact that that is the way it is today,” Gerofsky said.

He told of other major businesses with their eye on Toronto: Google has come Downtown, Apple will announce it’s on its way and Amazon is gearing up to locate here.

Back to the waterfront: Gerofsky spoke about the new Monde condo project which is close to beginning construction near Queens Quay and Lower Sherbourne. Again, he stressed the need for a more vibrant public transit system to make the project successful.

“That transit is an absolutely critical aspect of what we need,” he said, adding it leads to jobs, economic development and tax revenues.

“I can guarantee you it is a formula that works. If we get the public transit, we’ll deliver the buildings, we’ll deliver the jobs, we’ll deliver massive private sector investment,” Gerofsky said.

Campbell, along with Gerofsky, said Waterfront Toronto is working with the TTC, Metrolinx, the city and the provincial ministries of infrastructure and transportation (Murray is the minister for both) to get transit in place. He said most of the growth in the commuting population has been with GO and the TTC. “The Gardiner West has been at capacity since the early 1970s,” Campbell said.

Murray said the Bayfront LRT is advancing “very quickly. It’s a spinal cord connecting all of our waterfront activities, connecting us to Union Station (and we’re) starting to build it into all of our streetcar and subway lines.” Plus, multi-thousands of “high value jobs’ hinge on new transit.

As for the Gardiner, he said it has to be turned from a 20th century asset into one for the 21st century.