The City's vision for the proposed Rail Deck Park in Downtown Toronto has been protected by a landmark decision of the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) which dismissed an appeal of a 2017 City Council-approved Official Plan Amendment (OPA) that designated the air rights above the rail corridor between Bathurst Street and Blue Jays Way as park space.
The OPA was appealed by a joint venture partnership of developers known as CRAFT Acquisitions Corp. and P.I.T.S. Development Inc.who had a plan known as the 'ORCA Project'. Co-appellants were the Canadian National Railway Company and Toronto Terminals Railway Company Ltd. who had sold their air rights to the developers. CRAFT/P.I.T.S. sought to build new towers along the north edge of the site fronting Front Street, while building a similar but narrower park over the rail corridor on the south half of the site. The LPAT dismissal of the appeal noted the importance of creating new parkland in this parkland-deficient area with a rapidly growing population.
With the appeal dismissed, the City's planning vision and framework as laid out in the 2017 OPA can now begin moving forward. The area surrounding the rail corridor is amongst the fastest transforming sections of the GTA. While a park of this size and significance is expected to draw people from a wide swath of the city, residents of the developments in the immediate vicinity would keep the park busy in themselves. They include the may towers of the CityPlace neighbourhood to the south, and the several towers of The Well project rising currently to the north. There are many other new residential buildings nearby, both completed and in various stages of development.
In response to the news, Toronto Mayor John Tory issued a statement declaring "Today's decision about Rail Deck Park from the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal is good news for Toronto and its future. 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."
Toronto’s Chief Planner and Executive Director Gregg Lintern, echoed Tory's sentiments stating, "Rail Deck Park is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a larger park in the downtown area. It will create a unique and flexible space that can accommodate a variety of different activities."
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|Related Companies:||Sweeny &Co Architects Inc.|