Toronto

'Better late than never': City pledges $15M for project to make Bathurst Quay 'magnificent'

City officials on Friday launched a multi-million dollar development in the Bathurst Quay neighbourhood, which will see six key improvements coming to the area.

'The phases of this project are going to happen in pretty rapid order,' Mayor John Tory says

An artist's rendering of a new pedestrian path and plaza, which is planned for the Bathurst Quay neighbourhood. (City of Toronto)

City officials launched a multi-million dollar development on Friday in the Bathurst Quay neighbourhood, which will see six key improvements coming to the area.

Coun. Joe Cressy, who represents Ward 10, Spadina-Fort York, said the plan includes the revitalization of an under-used office building, rehabilitation of the dockwalls from the Portland slip to the airport ferry slip, and the construction of a new pedestrian path and plaza.

"Today, we are transforming Bathurst Quay. We're transforming it for people who live here, for people who work here, and for people who travel through here. It's going to be transformational," Cressy said.

"I think it's fair to say if you've ever walked around Bathurst Quay that it is an underutilized — at times feeling unsafe — eyesore that desperately needs a facelift," he added.

"Today, after 40 years of big ideas . . . [we have] a comprehensive vision for the future; a vision to build an aquatic centre right down here, to re-animate these historic silos for arts and cultural purposes, to develop an underground taxi pick-up and drop-off."

Cressy said the city has committed $15 million for the development.

With Friday’s announcement, Mayor John Tory said the city is 'making this part of the waterfront come alive.' (CBC)

Mayor John Tory, who also spoke at Friday's launch, said the construction will begin this year.

"I think we are finally, with today's announcement, making progress on making this part of the waterfront come alive and make this part of the waterfront something to be proud of," he said.

"The good news about what's happening today is that they're ready to go with the construction. The phases of this project are going to happen in pretty rapid order and people are going to see it transformed into an area that is friendly to people.

"It's going to be magnificent, it's going to be welcoming, it's going to be beautiful, it's going to be fun," Tory added.

The area, just east of the entrance to Billy Bishop Airport, has been in limbo for nearly four decades, as the city tried to decide what to do with it.

Fred Auchterlonie works in the area and he said people will welcome the new green space. (CBC)

Many residents say they are happy that the city has finally gotten to this point.

"I'm glad that the politicians were able to figure it out finally and do something. Better late than never I would say," Shaffiq Ramji told CBC Toronto.

"I think if it opens up to the public so they can enjoy this space, then I think it's a good idea."

Fred Auchterlonie, who works in the area, said people will welcome the new green space.

"I like walking around here with the marina and seeing the boats and stuff; it's wonderful in the summertime," he told CBC Toronto.

"I think having something here in terms of green space in the city that's easily accessible for people is great."

Coun. Joe Cressy speaking at Friday's launch while Mayor John Tory looks on. (CBC)

The first phase of the redevelopment is expected to be completed by 2021 and will include a new boardwalk along the water.

Repairs are also planned on the exterior walls of the old Canada Malt silos, which are protected under the  Ontario Heritage Act.

With files from Greg Ross

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