ORCA Project | ?m | ?s | P.I.T.S. | Safdie & Associates

Filip

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ORCA is DOA. City is pursuing the full park through a traditional public funding model. They have a ton of money from cash in lieu parkland payments from all the development over the last 15 years sitting in an account and waiting to be spent, and the rail deck park is a place to spend it.
They do not have anywhere near a billion dollars. It would be idiotic to have this as a public spend - let the developer build a (smaller) park that ends up doing the same thing anyway.

You have developers wanting to deck the rail corridor from Bathurst to Yonge - let them do it.
 

Filip

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No, but they have about half of it. Rest can come from elsewhere.

the "developer" behind ORCA is barely qualified for that title, yet alone capable of pulling off one of the largest developments in the cities history. Plus the financing of the ORCA project park, if you looked at their plans, still includes a large amount of public funding.
And where is the perpetually broke Toronto going to find $500MM for a park? I'm just asking a serious question here... With so many mission critical projects still unfunded - somehow decking the railway corridor is a good use of limited funds?
 

innsertnamehere

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They do not have anywhere near a billion dollars. It would be idiotic to have this as a public spend - let the developer build a (smaller) park that ends up doing the same thing anyway.

You have developers wanting to deck the rail corridor from Bathurst to Yonge - let them do it.
No, but they have about half of it. Rest can come from elsewhere.

the "developer" behind ORCA is barely qualified for that title, yet alone capable of pulling off one of the largest developments in the cities history. Plus the financing of the ORCA project park, if you looked at their plans, still includes a large amount of public funding. And by cutting the park in half, you compromise a lot on what the point of the park was originally. It takes it from being a significant sized park to serve a larger catchment of the downtown population (and able to provide more programming) to more of a local park.
 

ttk77

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No, but they have about half of it. Rest can come from elsewhere.

the "developer" behind ORCA is barely qualified for that title, yet alone capable of pulling off one of the largest developments in the cities history. Plus the financing of the ORCA project park, if you looked at their plans, still includes a large amount of public funding. And by cutting the park in half, you compromise a lot on what the point of the park was originally. It takes it from being a significant sized park to serve a larger catchment of the downtown population (and able to provide more programming) to more of a local park.
Totally agreed on the sentiments. I'd rather wait for a decade for the full funding to come through than have the ORCA project built as is. If they can come to a compromise, that's great, but anything that doesn't leave the vast majority of this space for public park-land is unacceptable as far as I'm concerned. Accepting anything just for the sake of getting the tracks decked over just doesn't sit well with me, especially given the original proposal.
 

maestro

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The parks department isn't broke. Infrastructure Ontario would have their say too. Maybe that's the one of the problems.
 

ProjectEnd

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ORCA is DOA. City is pursuing the full park through a traditional public funding model. They have a ton of money from cash in lieu parkland payments from all the development over the last 15 years sitting in an account and waiting to be spent, and the rail deck park is a place to spend it.
The issue that most are overlooking (beyond funding) is that you can't submit plans to redevelop something you don't own. For all Jen's posturing, the department did formally accept the application so there certainly is some right for it to exist.

I wouldn't write this one off as "DOA" that quickly. There are many moving parts and many actors. This will work itself out in boardrooms at Bay and King, not on Twitter or Facebook.
 

innsertnamehere

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oh absolutely. The city does have the power of expropriation however which renders that moot to a certain extent. The city can force the developers hand, for a price. Key word is "for a price" - and how much that may be.
 

ADRM

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To @ProjectEnd's point, I really do think this one will come down to which corporate executives wind up having Tory's ear and the attractiveness/practicality of the proposition they can offer. And, for my part, that (for once, as opposed to the other instances in which it's netted the city with a shitty result) would be a good thing.

As with most large-scale developments in this city (as in other cities), I think it's most realistic to consider the ORCA proposal as an opening salvo in a round of negotiations, rather than a take-it-or-leave-it offer. Given that Planning's official public stance has been to vociferously oppose the current proposal, it seems that it'll take Mayoral direction to get them to move off of it.
 

zot627

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At least they're saying something. Until now it was a one sided conversation. And of what do we need to be convinced? If the city really wants a park and they can find the money to acquire the air rights and build it (someday), a park it shall be.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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At least they're saying something. Until now it was a one sided conversation. And of what do we need to be convinced? If the city really wants a park and they can find the money to acquire the air rights and build it (someday), a park it shall be.
The legalities around the air rights hasn't even been established clearly and indisputably yet - much less the right to develop atop of it as envisioned. Besides, there was nothing new, the gist of it has been reported before.

If the proponent is that confident of their rights, perhaps they should head straight to OMB or the courts instead?

AoD
 
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maestro

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A line of condo towers isn't going to cover the costs of decking for a park either (unless it's the pathetic "green roof " proposed of ORCA.) All it may do is speed up the process. What is the rush?
 

ADRM

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From Cressy's latest newsletter:

Rail Deck Park - Public Meetings in September
As our community grows, we must focus on building neighbourhoods and not just condo towers - that's why we've been working hard together to make critical and worthwhile investments in community facilities in Ward 20, and continuing efforts to secure much-needed parkland downtown.

Last August, Mayor Tory and I announced Rail Deck Park: a new 21-acre public park over the rail corridor. The size of 16 football fields, it will be a new and critical resource for our neighbourhoods, and a new central park for all of Toronto. City Council has already approved taking the first steps to move this bold and ambitious plan forward. Along with detailed implementation plans, cost estimates, and funding options, we have initiated an Official Plan Amendment process to formally review re-designating the space above the rail corridor as parkland.

After the plans for Rail Deck Park were announced, the City of Toronto received a private application to change the Official Plan to allow a large new development above the rail corridor, including a parking structure for 1,225 vehicles and 9 buildings up to 59 storeys tall.

To be very clear, I completely oppose any private development over the rail corridor because it would diminish the size and usefulness of Rail Deck Park. We have plenty of other sites downtown for more towers, but there are no other sites for a new 21-acre downtown park.

The Ontario Planning Act legally requires the City to review, hold public meetings, and make a decision on every private development application, no matter how obviously inappropriate it is, which is why a meeting is taking place on this application. And we also have to be prepared to defend that decision if it is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), which has the power to overturn any of City Council's planning decisions.

These public meetings are a crucial opportunity to make sure your voice is heard in this process. Please attend and speak out in support of Rail Deck Park. We desperately need this major new park today and it will be a legacy we leave for future generations.

Rail Deck Park: City-initiated Official Plan Amendment

Date: Monday, September 25, 2017
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: City Hall – Council Chambers (100 Queen Street West)

Private Rail Corridor Development Application

Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Renaissance Hotel
Northern Lights Ballroom
(1 Blue Jays Way)
 

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