Toronto

Fort York pedestrian bridge plan nixed in council

Toronto council's public works commitee is stopping work on a pedestrian bridge designed to link two neighbourhoods at historic Fort York after deeming the project too expensive.

Staff asked to come up with cheaper alternative

Toronto council's public works committee is stopping work on a pedestrian bridge designed to link two neighborhoods at historic Fort York after deeming the project too expensive.

The Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge incorporates a double helix design and was envisioned as a landmark and the centrepiece of Toronto's War of 1812 bicentennial celebrations. It has been in the planning stages since the late 90s and is intended to span GO train tracks and link Stanley Park to the north and the Fort York grounds to the south.

But the city's public works committee, acting on a motion moved by Coun. David Shiner on Tuesday night, decided against approving a construction contract for the project.

The cost of the bridge has increased to $23 million from its initial budget of $18 million. The city has already spent $1.3 million on the project, but staff are now being asked to go back to the drawing board to come up with something cheaper.

"I cannot support a cycle and pedestrian path that going to cost $23 million. And that's why I've put the motion in front of us and have it go to back to staff and [have] them look for an alternative design," Shiner said Tuesday night.

Coun. Mike Layton, in whose ward the bridge was to be built, said he wasn't consulted about the plan to scrap the project. He said any redesign wouldn't be ready for the 1812 celebrations and the delay involved would likely kill the bridge altogether.

"There's a general  tendency of the new administration to take in the plans that had been done — even if they're good plans — and say, 'No we can't do that, lets start again,'" he said.

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