April 9, 2023
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Attention: Cathrine Regan
RE: TE4.36 Ontario Place – Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendment Status Report
Dear Chair Councillor Gord Perks and Members of the Toronto and East York Community Council,
While FoNTRA’s membership includes over 30 residents’ associations in the area generally bounded by Bloor, Bathurst, Sheppard and the Don Valley Parkway, we, like other residents of Toronto and Ontario see Ontario Place as their iconic waterfront park. Many of us have enjoyed multiple visits over the years and are very pleased with the thoughtful Trillium Park addition. We will participate in the upcoming consultations.
The staff report provides an excellent overview of the complex considerations that must be given to the review of the Province’s planning applications that, if approved, would result in significant changes to this area, that is of provincial, not just local importance. It notes that there are a number of changes proposed which do not comply with City Planning objectives and many concerns issues particularly about the Province’s proposals for the West Island.
We concur with the concerns regarding turning the West Island into an enormous private spa to be enjoyed by the wealthy. We note that the current Therme’s page size ads seem to agree by hiding even a small corner of the proposed spa building behind trees so that the focus is on an image of the Ontario Place from its 1970-90 heydays that we cherish.
We also object to the proposed huge parking garage. As the report notes, substantially improved public transit access must be through an integrated plan with Exhibition Place.
We agree with the comments of Ontario Place for All, that:
- This is not the vision Ontarians have for Ontario’s most iconic urban park.
- Turning over public space to a private spa is unacceptable.Other cities around the world are more farsighted and are embracing the civic and economic value of spectacularly designed parks.
- City Council must turn down this development application and insist the Province produce a plan that better serves the people of Ontario.”
We also note that the City owns title to a small but significant land area at Ontario Place and needs to be prepared to use this to best advantage as things go forward.
We are confident that this current plan does not represent the best interests of the residents of Toronto and Ontario. We hope that a suitable development plan for our Ontario Place that is in the public interest will be forthcoming.
Image: Maksim Sokolov (maxergon.com), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons