Waterfront Toronto may lose Don lands to province

Dennis Hanagan–

Serious rumblings that the province might leave Waterfront Toronto in the lurch as it oversees development in the West Don Lands has left area residents “very concerned,” says the head of a local community association.

Residents fear Queens Park might sell yet-to-be developed lands solely for the money rather than let those lands evolve the way residents are hoping they will under Waterfront Toronto’s leadership.

The West Don Lands Committee (WDLC) is writing to Infrastructure Ontario Minister Brad Duguid to request a meeting with him and are banking on support from Toronto Centre MPP Glen Murray who used to hold the infrastructure post.

“We’re looking for assurances that the rest of the West Don Lands, (outside those for the Pan Am Games) will continue to be developed as in the past with Waterfront Toronto as the lead developer,” Cindy Wilkey, co-chair of the West Don Lands Committee, said in an interview.

The committee has heard “serious” rumblings that the province is considering selling those lands in order to recoup more money than it could under the existing precinct plan. It would hand the lands over to Infrastructure Ontario.”

“It’s very, very concerning. The community has worked very closely with Waterfront Toronto. People are very invested in the precinct plan being completed as anticipated in accordance with the community vision for the West Don Lands,” said Wilkey.

The lands of concern to residents are north of the Mill St. condominiums up to Eastern Ave. abutting Cherry St. and also south of Mill Street, east of Cherry.

A city website describes the West Don Lands Precinct Plan: the West Don Lands is envisioned as a new mixed-use precinct with an emphasis on urban living. It will inherit many of the qualities and characteristics of the neighbourhoods surrounding it and will have a major new park on the Don River.