The next great development corridor in Toronto could be along the new Ontario Line, Metrolinx president and CEO Phil Verster told delegates participating in a recent Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP) luncheon webinar.
Verster and Ontario Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney were presenters at an Aug. 5 event billed as an Ontario Transit Update with CCPPP president and CEO Mark Romoff serving as host and interviewer.
Mulroney noted that Associate Transportation Minister (GTA) Kinga Surma is taking the lead negotiating with potential private-sector development partners as part of the government’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) program. Bill 171, which received royal assent July 8, contains provisions for further TOD development. Stations at Mimico and Woodbine have been the first two TODs to be announced, she said.
We have got development proposals at (nearly) every station location,
— Phil Verster
Verster then noted there could be many more to come.
“There is a huge list of others that are in the final stage of letters of direction being signed,” he said. “And the impact on our programs is very significant. The benefit for taxpayers is very significant.
“When you look especially at the Ontario Line, nearly every station location, we have got development proposals at every station location. This is how cities are built and this is how transit should work.”
The 16-kilometre Ontario Line is one of four Toronto transit projects described as priorities by the Doug Ford government.
Announced in April 2019 with a 2027 targeted completion date, the route as currently proposed would have 15 stops — at the Ontario Science Centre, Flemingdon Park, Thorncliffe Park, Cosburn, Pape, Gerrard, Leslieville, East Harbour, Corktown, Moss Park, Queen, Osgoode, Queen/Spadina, King/Bathurst and Exhibition, according to the Metrolinx website.
The line would connect to three GO lines and have four connections to subway lines 1, 2 and the Eglinton Crosstown. Most sections would be through tunnels with three stages currently designated as elevated or above grade.
Mulroney had previously said, referring to TODs, “It is really important that we look at it station by station because we want to get the mix (right). Each community is different and we want to be able to respond to the needs of each community around the stations.
“It is about creating an alignment between transit and commercial spaces and creating a vibrant community.”
TODs represent a savings for the province, said Mulroney, with developers required to fund and build the transit stations in exchange for being given development rights above the stations.
Verster said the interest shown in TODs along the Ontario Line is “a good sign.”
“It is also a sign of how the post-COVID world will look like. People are going to live closer to transit…and we are going to see the type of world we are in.”
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