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New Waterfront Project Rumours
15/11/2004

There was a front page article in the Star on Saturday about a rumoured plan to build a big corporate tower and television studio on the south side of Queen's Quay East, beside the Redpath Sugar plant. There's controversy about this, obviously. From the Star:

The waterfront corporation's aim is to transform 46 kilometres of waterfront into vibrant neighbourhoods full of homes, jobs and parks. But whenever there's talk about what will actually be built, concerns about another wall of towers like that west of Yonge St. aren't far behind.

That fear is one reason many people favour a plan that puts nothing but parks and open space along the water.

Feldman knows people like parks, and the waterfront plan calls for hundreds of hectares of them, but he says the city also needs businesses and the income they bring. "Unless we create a work atmosphere down there, other than our parks ... all we're doing is reversing the rush-hour in this city," Feldman (Ward 10, York Centre) said. The deal TEDCO is working on, which Feldman said he can't comment on, will "create opportunity for business" and maintain the vision of a waterfront for the people.

I've never been one to be bothered by big towers along the waterfront. At the same time, I have not seen the urban planners' designs for European-style modern villages as sufficiently desirable to override my preference for continuous green space all along the waterfront.

So, my plan would be simple. Build whatever you want on the north side of Queen's Quay East. Big huge towers if they are going to pay the bills. But, make sure that there is nothing at all on the south side. Just parkland and trails. And, no, a cultural centre, theatre, gallery and parking lot do not count as parkland.

The experts will say my design is a crappy one, but I believe the population will like it better. Just as important, as a plan it is superior to whatever exists at present in its absolute simplicity. However appealing the way we are proceeding currently may be to designers, the reality is that it will be simple enough for little exceptions to be made here and there that will lead to a Queen's Quay East that is no better or different than what we have to the west. I'm building from the Windsor example.

To be honest, I didn't even feel I was being cynical when I told people nothing would come of the big Chretien, Harris and Lastman photo-op. That was five years ago!


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