City Council approves plan to transform Queens Quay

TORONTO, Oct. 1 /CNW/ - Toronto City Council has overwhelmingly approved Waterfront Toronto's recommendation to transform Queens Quay into a grand lakefront boulevard by replacing two lanes of traffic on the south side of the street with a beautiful linear park. The recommendation stemmed from a two-year long Environmental Assessment (EA) process for Queens Quay co-sponsored by Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto.

Under the recommended plan, Queens Quay will become a two lane street with east/west traffic on the north side and streetcars running in a dedicated right-of-way south of the street.

"Today's decision will help put Toronto's waterfront on the map," said John Campbell, President and CEO of Waterfront Toronto. "Queens Quay is now poised to become one of the most beautiful waterfront streets in the world." Transforming Queens Quay by creating open public space along the south side of the street with a generous new pedestrian promenade and expanded Martin Goodman Trail was part of the 2006 winning design for revitalizing the central waterfront. The design, by renowned landscape architects and urban planners West 8 + DTAH, was selected by Waterfront Toronto after an international design competition. Prior to making any changes to Queens Quay, Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto undertook an EA to study the feasibility and impact of the design as well as possible alternatives to it. In addition, a second EA was undertaken in conjunction with Toronto Transit Committee and the City of Toronto to focus on planning transit services for the new waterfront development underway in East Bayfront and future communities in the Lower Don Lands and Port Lands. During the EA, several design alternatives for Queens Quay were examined. Each alternative presented a different configuration for a revitalized Queens Quay that was analyzed and rated against a series of city planning and environmental criteria. The process also featured a strong public consultation component with opportunities for the public to participate through site walks and tours, information sessions and public meetings.

Results of the EA clearly demonstrate that Waterfront Toronto's recommendation for Queens Quay provides the greatest opportunity for creating a world-class waterfront street. Rigorous traffic analysis confirms that reducing traffic to two lanes on the north side of Queens Quay is not only feasible in the short term but can also accommodate future traffic demands.

Today's approval from City Council allows Waterfront Toronto to move forward with submitting the recommendation, part of the full Environmental Screening Report for the project, to the Ontario Ministry of Environment for approval. Once submitted, the public will have a 30-day comment period during which they can review the report and provide feedback to the MOE. At the end of the 30-day comment period, the MOE will either approve the EA or may request additional information from the project team.

If the EA is approved, the project will rollout in phases beginning with schematic design from Spadina Avenue to Parliament Street. Schematic design is the first phase of design for the project and will result in a comprehensive layout of the street from end to end including traffic management and construction phasing strategies. Schematic design is expected to take four months to complete and will be followed by detailed design.

The first phase of construction, which will begin in the Central Waterfront, will be determined during schematic design. Phase one construction is expected to begin about one year after the completion of the EA and will take 12 to 18 months to build.

The construction of the revitalized Queens Quay will occur in phases based on funding availability. The project is expected to cost approximately $192 million which includes all new services and public realm improvements plus an additional $150 million for new transit along Queens Quay in the East Bayfront area. Schematic and detailed design from Spadina Avenue to Parliament Street and a first phase of construction in the Central Waterfront is expected to cost approximately $63 million and is included in Waterfront Toronto's current long term plan.

As detailed design begins, public consultation will continue to be an integral part of the project with opportunities for the public to be actively engaged in the process. Waterfront Toronto will share information and seek public feedback and input at all key project milestones.

The Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto created Waterfront Toronto to oversee and lead the renewal of Toronto's waterfront. Public accessibility, design excellence, sustainable development, economic development and fiscal sustainability are the key drivers of waterfront revitalization.

SOURCE Waterfront Toronto

For further information: For further information: Media contact: Samantha Gileno, Waterfront Toronto, (416) 271-1316

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