This spring, the City of Toronto, Province of Ontario and Government of Canada joined forces to establish the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation that will oversee the renewal of Toronto's waterfront.
The corporation will act on behalf of all three governments. The governments will exercise their interests, obligations and responsibilities through membership in the corporation and the appointment of representatives to its board of directors. The new corporation's business strategy and development plan will be subject to the approval of the government partners. In addition, a legally binding agreement will outline the principles of governance for the corporation.
On July 26, 2001, Robert Fung was endorsed as chair of the new corporation. Mr. Fung had earlier headed the task force that provided a conceptual blueprint to revive Toronto's waterfront. The Part II Plan for the central waterfront is a refinement of the blueprint.
In addition, each government will appoint three citizens to the corporation's board of directors this fall. The board of directors, in consultation with the government partners, will be responsible for hiring a chief executive officer.
The first activities of the new corporation will involve construction of large-scale waterfront infrastructure projects that will permanently improve Toronto's waterfront. Work has already begun on the first four projects, which represent a total of $300 million in new investment. They are:
- an expansion and improvement of public transit facilities at Union Station
- environmental assessment of plans to transform the mouth of the Don River
- environmental improvements to former industrial land in the Port Lands area
- extension of Front Street from Bathurst to Dufferin Streets with a new Gardiner Expressway interchange west of Strachan Avenue
Interim Governance Structure
The long-term governance structure of the corporation will require provincial legislation, which is expected to be tabled this winter. In the interim, the corporation will proceed with its work as a sole shareholder, not-for-profit corporation guided by an agreement among the three governments.
During this period staff will be hired to establish an office, develop procurement and contracting policies and begin work on a detailed, long-term development plan and business strategy, which will be presented to the three founding governments for their approval.
The City's Role
As one of the three founding partners, the City of Toronto is committed to ensuring that the corporation conducts its business in a manner that is efficient, open and responsive to public input.
The corporation has a responsibility to ensure that its plans are consistent with and complement the City's official plans, particularly the Central Waterfront Part II Plan. The corporation is also required to hold public meetings to present its annual reports. These and other measures will ensure that the public is engaged in the course of the corporation's business.
City Council Waterfront Reference Group
On May 31, 2001, City Council approved the creation of a Waterfront Reference Group as part of the governance structure for waterfront renewal. Reporting to the Policy and Finance Committee, the group will ensure coordination among the City's departments and agencies, standing committees and City Council. The Reference Group will consult with waterfront area residents associations and businesses.
On June 26, 2001, Council appointed Councillors Gerry Altobello, Brian Ashton, Betty Disero, Joanne Flint, Ron Moeser, Irene Jones, Pam McConnell and David Shiner to the Waterfront Reference Group. Councillor Joe Pantalone, chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee, was appointed chair of the Waterfront Reference Group. Mayor Mel Lastman is an ex-officio member. Councillor Jack Layton represents the City's Sustainability Round Table on the Reference Group.