Toronto

Councillors propose new park for Bathurst and Front

Toronto's crowded downtown core might get some more breathing room if city councillors Mike Layton and Joe Cressy are successful in their efforts to turn 2.3 acres of city-owned land into a new park.

A motion was put forward Tuesday to turn 2.3 acres of city-owned land into parkland

Coun. Mike Layton says city-owned sites need to be considered for park space opposed to simply selling them to developers. (CBC)

Toronto's crowded downtown core might get some more green space if city councillors Mike Layton and Joe Cressy are successful in their efforts to turn 2.3 acres of city-owned land into a new park.  

Layton put forward a motion at Tuesday's community council meeting that asked the city planning department to examine using the land at 28 Bathurst St. for parks and open space. The motion was carried.

"This is a rare opportunity," Layton said in a news release.

The councillor said the land at Bathurst Street and Front Street West is in a high-growth region of the city where parks are sorely needed, and using city-owned land may make it possible to get parkland that may be costly to obtain otherwise.  

"The competition for space downtown is driving up the cost of land, so every city-owned site needs to be examined to meet the need for parks space, rather than selling it to developers," Layton said.

The councillor said park staff have estimated it would cost $4 million to clean up the property, while city staff say land downtown goes for $30 million to $60 million per acre.

Layton said the downtown core has some of the lowest levels of parkland in the city. Most of the of parks downtown are small, a characteristic which he said limits the types of activities they can accommodate. 

Councillor Joe Cressy took steps with Layton to turn a 2.3 acre city-owned space at Bathurst and Front into a new downtown park. (CBC)

The land at 28 Bathurst St. was previously used for a lead smelter and is located next to a childcare centre and transitional housing.

In 2011, Toronto city council declared the area as surplus and planned to transfer the site to Build Toronto for development. Since then, Build Toronto has been unable to find a development that would work for the area.

Layton hopes all of the land gets turned into a park.

"While this site has some challenges due to the need for remediation, it will be one of the most affordable new parks in the downtown since we already own it," he added.

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