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City council passed a motion Friday night to convert the land at 28 Bathurst Street, near Front Street, into a new green space in one of the city’s highest-growth regions — described as one of Toronto’s most park-deficient areas.
The 2.3 acre city-owned site was previously a lead smelter for car battery carcasses. The $ 5M dollar plan will see it capped and turned into something of a green oasis in a part of the city currently dominated by concrete and asphalt.
He was comparing the price tag of the green space to what it would have cost for the city to clean up the site for residential use — a cool $ 25M, according to studies conducted by the city’s real estate arm, Build Toronto, The studies themselves cost $ 1.2M.
Besides, if the city had to buy a site this size, it would have cost a hundred million dollars, said Layton.
And he wasn’t the only one applauding the news.
“We have very few opportunities to create green space in downtown Toronto,” said Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon. “We should definitely be taking advantage of it… for quality of life, for mental, spiritual and physical health.”
Not all saw a park as the best use for the land, however.
There are estimates that the net cash gain to the city for a residential type use would amount to some $ 10M.
“The opportunity costs of not selling this property are huge,” Minnan-Wong said.
He would have preferred to see the option studied more and for the city manager to report back to allow for “an educated decision.”
The $ 1.2M spent by Build Toronto does have to be repaid.
As for when and how the green space will come together, Council has asked Parks and Recreation to report back on development and operating costs.