TORONTO, June 26, 2013 /CNW/ - Plans released today by the provincial minister of tourism that Ontario Place will gain a park and trail simply reinforce how aimless the provincial government is when it comes to the future of Toronto's waterfront jewel, says the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
"From the moment they shut down most of the site 18 months ago it's been apparent the Liberal government is operating in a fog when it comes to bold and fresh ideas for Ontario Place," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "They don't have a clue what to do with Ontario Place and they refuse to entertain any other proposals that don't involve commercial and residential development. That was never the purpose of Ontario Place and it never should be."
Thomas pointed out that his union, along with Design Industry Advisory Committee and the U of T's Martin Prosperity Institute, has organized a series of public meetings and town halls since late 2012 that attracted some of Toronto's leading design architects, urban landscape professionals and environmental graphic artists. The group produced exciting alternative visions for Ontario Place which have been all but ignored, said Thomas.
"The Wynne government - like the McGuinty government before it - is content to rely on the bland recommendations put forward by John Tory and the committee tasked to look into the future of Ontario Place. Those recommendations - more commercial and residential development - have been widely discredited by a host of experts but instead of seeking out better ideas, the Minister of Tourism instead presents us with a plan for a tiny park and a trail.
"This is lazy planning; it lacks vision and excitement and I say it's time the government presented to the people of Ontario a visionary plan that we can be proud of and rally behind."`
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Warren (Smokey) Thomas