“It’s really been analyzed, scrutinized and frankly, you wouldn’t have three levels of government putting up this kind of money if they didn’t have the confidence that we could deliver on this,” Waterfront President and CEO Will Fleissig told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning this week.
The island doesn’t exist now, but it will form when Waterfront reworks the mouth of the Don River, allowing it to flow into both the Keating Channel and a new river valley. New wetlands will also be incorporated into the design for the area.
“If we weren’t absolutely positive that this solution would be able to withstand the impact of a 100-year flood, then we wouldn’t be here,” said Andrew Hilton, Waterfront’s director of communications.
“We are 100 per cent confident.”
All that’s left is to build it.
Last Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mayor John Tory took a water taxi to the Port Lands to announce $ 1.25 billion worth of funding over a seven-year span, money that’s expected to make the Port Lands development a reality.
The goal is to unlock one of the largest pieces of land in the city — one that’s currently used for industrial purposes (although there are also some nightclubs, a massive Asian grocery story and an axe-throwing place).
“It’s basically the junkyard of the city,” said Joe Berridge, a planner with Urban Strategies who is working on the design for Villiers Island and has been a part of similar projects in other cities around the world.
Berridge’s vision for the area, part of which is set to go to city council this summer, includes a trail that will run from the core to Cherry Beach for those visiting the area, as well as amenities for those who will eventually call the area home.
It could, he said, also feature signature buildings or parks to make the Port Lands a prime destination.
Waterfront Toronto will focus on preparing the land, but private developers will be the ones putting up buildings.
“It’s critical that we do affordable housing here. We can’t just do more condos,” said Fleissig.