Toronto (March 23, 2012)
– The Toronto Port Authority Board and the City of Toronto reached an agreement last summer, passed by City Council on July 12, 2011, that will see the City of Toronto put a new water main and replacement sewage mains in the pedestrian tunnel that the TPA is building to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. This City Council-approved agreement specifically included provisions to improve traffic management on Eireann Quay and a three year lease of the Canada Malting site to the TPA for such purposes.
Tunnel pre-construction work has commenced. PCL, the tunnel’s construction contractor, is undertaking work at this time to establish necessary construction enabling works on the Canada Malting Site to allow the tunnel work, including for the City water and sewer mains, to get started. This includes, for example, work required for access and traffic management during construction and work to establish a functioning construction yard.
As part of the TPA lease of the Canada Malting lot, a site plan will be finalized. The site plan approval application relates to the new taxi queuing area, commercial parking and other parking areas. These facilities will proceed should site plan approval be obtained, and will improve traffic management as anticipated in the 2011 agreement between the City and the TPA. The tunnel project itself is not subject to the site plan, and requires no further approvals.
The fencing surrounding Ireland Park was erected by the City of Toronto for safety reasons, relating to work it is conducting on nearby City-owned dockwalls, and is unrelated to any TPA activities. PCL’s construction plan allows for access to Ireland Park, when it reopens, from the west side of this important waterfront site. The TPA has worked closely with the Chairman of the Ireland Park Foundation, Robert Kearns, to ensure the tunnel project does not prevent ongoing public access to the park.
The recent decision of the Toronto and East York Community Council to defer approval of the site plan will delay the TPA’s long-planned initiative to improve traffic management on Eireann Quay. As per a letter sent to Councillor Adam Vaughan by the TPA earlier today:
“[The TPA is] trying to live up to our commitment to our neighbours and Toronto City Council…[by] better organizing the taxis on a portion of the rented Canada Malting site over the next three years. We had understood that this taxi solution was what you had been seeking, based upon many discussions held directly with you and other community stakeholders.
We asked the City of Toronto to include the taxi move in the larger 2011 Agreement that Council approved last summer. We are trying to live up to our commitment to our neighbours and Toronto City Council, and it is you who are preventing us from keeping this promise.”
The TPA is hosting a previously-announced community meeting on its tunnel construction plans on Wednesday, March 28, at 7pm in the Harbourfront Community Centre gym.
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Media contact: Suzanna Birchwood, 416-863-2036/416-317-6405 (mobile)