November 21, 2017 5:23 pm
Updated: November 21, 2017 5:45 pm

City report puts price tag for Toronto’s proposed Rail Deck Park at $1.6B

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The city of Toronto’s plan to build a major park over the downtown rail corridor has been given a $1.6-billion price tag, according to a recent city report.

The report before the city’s executive committee on Nov. 28 will outline the feasibility of Rail Deck Park, a proposed recreational gathering place built over what is currently unused air space between Bathurst Street and Blue Jays Way.

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The structure will essentially be a big deck with lawns, play spaces, trees, water features and art covering train operations running to and from Union Station.

READ MORE: Development group touts its plan for Toronto rail corridor is better for city than Mayor Tory’s

Trinity-Spadina Councillor Joe Cressy, a proponent of the project, told AM640 that the park would not only be a space for downtown residents but a tourist destination adjacent to the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre that would put Toronto on the global map.

“Today, we have 250,000 people who live downtown, but we will have 500,000 people living downtown in the next 25 years,” Cressy told AM 640. “This is about a signature central park for the city of Toronto.”

LISTEN: Trinity-Spadina councilor Joe Cressy talks to AM 640 about the future of Rail Deck Park

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When asked about where the money would come from to build the park, Cressy said development charges and hundreds of millions being “under collected” from Section 42 of the Ontario planning act, which allows municipalities to ask developers to dedicate land or cash for the purposes of creating new parkland.

“The report here proposes that growth will pay for growth and we will be updating our parkland acquisitions and development charges policies,” Cressy said.

READ MORE: Toronto city councillor gives middle finger in response to city hall ‘roof tax’ proposal

Last week, the city moved a step closer to development as council voted to move ahead with zoning the air above the rail lines as parkland.

The executive committee will look to advance on to stage two of the project on Nov. 28 which would bring Metrolinx to the table to align the Rail Deck Park proposal with other future projects in the rail corridor in addition to consulting with development and business communities on a financial strategy.

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