Mayor John Tory says the federal, provincial, and city governments will be working with Waterfront TO on the next steps to complete studies on the development of the Don River.
Speaking with the Federal Finance Minister and Ontario’s Economic Development Minister on Tuesday, Tory announced that $5 million in funding would be going towards completing due diligence work to research costs and risks associated with the proposal.
The ambitious project would naturalize the mouth of the Don River, provide flood protection to the area and “unlock significant economic development potential,” including a new island.
The due diligence work is the first phase, expected to be completed by November of this year. It will be primarily undertaken by Waterfront Toronto, and will provide governments with additional assurance on the estimated $975 million cost of this project. The due diligence will examine the costs, risks, strategists, and its implementation.
The project itself includes rerouting the Don River to the middle of the Port Lands between the Ship channel and the Keating Channel, re-mediating the area’s contaminated soil, creating new parks, wetlands and resilient urban infrastructure that will remove the flooding risk, unlock a vast area for revitalization and development.
The new development will include the creation of a new community called Villiers Island, and according to the City, will create billions of dollars in economic development opportunities.
The second phase would be flood protection of the waterfront, including West Don Lands (where Pan Am’s Athletes Village is), as well as 210 hectares of eastern downtown Toronto, including the West Don Lands, parts of the Financial District and the South Core.
A statement from Waterfront Toronto quotes an independent study by PwC done for Waterfront Toronto in 2014 , saying it “estimates that spending on design and construction on the project will generate $3.6 billion in value to the Canadian economy, 7,672 person years of employment and $346 million in tax revenues to all levels of government.”