Toronto is now one step closer to getting a brand new downtown park after developers lose an appeal at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal.
The LPAT dismissed the appeal of the City Council-approved Official Plan Amendment 395, which designated the rail corridor from Bathurst to Blue Jays Way as future parkland and open public space. That means the Rail Deck Park is closer to becoming a reality!
"Today's decision about Rail Deck Park from the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal is good news for Toronto and its future,” said Toronto Mayor, John Tory, when the announcement was made last week. “This reaffirms the City's initial intentions to make this land available for an important community development that will ultimately be a very popular park."
In December 2017, Council approved OPA 395 in an effort to address the parkland deficiency in downtown Toronto, and to move on an opportunity to create a world-class public destination. The latest cost estimate for the Rail Deck Park is $1.66 billion.
"Rail Deck Park is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a larger park in the downtown area,” said Gregg Lintern, Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning, City of Toronto. “It will create a unique and flexible space that can accommodate a variety of different activities."
We’re pretty excited about what this decision means for this west end Front St. stretch. At Bathurst and Front, Minto Communities’ Minto Westside is nearing completion and occupancy commenced earlier this year. There are hundreds of units in the condo, plus a new rental building on the north side of the site, on Niagara.
The Well at Spadina and Front is now under construction, and that’s a huge master-plan with commercial and residential spaces. We’re pretty sure there are currently around eight cranes up at The Well. This mixed-use community will definitely benefit from access to an expansive green space like Rail Deck Park.
Just recently, Oxford unveiled its plans for Union Park, which features office space and rental units, as well as an urban park above the rail corridor, which would connect to Rail Deck Park. This will add another two acres to the 21-acre Rail Deck Park.
And we can’t forget about all of the City Place condos lining the south side of the tracks. There are thousands of residents here who will surely take advantage of having more nearby park space.
The airspace above the rail corridor is completely unused, and the Rail Deck Park is a perfect example of the type of urban design Toronto needs to embrace in order to accommodate the need for more green space as the city continues to expand in a splendor of concrete, steel, and glass.