Thursday, October 2, 2008

Waterfront park extension

Status of negotiations with owners of three apartment buildings who refused to sell strip of shoreline unknown

A popular new waterfront park in Mimico recently gained $19 million in funding for its second phase to connect it to the western edge of Toronto's Waterfront Trail.

Waterfront Toronto approved the funding last month as part of its long-term plan for transforming Toronto's waterfront.

Phase two of the park will create a 250-metre boardwalk and multi-use waterfront trail from Superior Avenue, where the new park ends, and Humber Bay Park.

"It could be completed by 2012," said Michelle Noble, spokesperson for Waterfront Toronto.
The new $10.6-million lakeside Mimico park, with its sand dunes, lookout point, 150-metre boardwalk and public trail for pedestrians and cyclists, opened to much fanfare in July.
But the park begins, and ends. A 400-metre gap separates it from Toronto's waterfront trail to the east at Humber Bay Park.

"It's a great park," Bob Poldon, president of the Mimico Residents' Association said of phase one. "But it's sort of the park to nowhere. I sure look forward to it being completed."
The holdup is owners of three walk-up apartment buildings on that stretch of Lake Shore Boulevard West who have steadfastly refused to sell a strip of shoreline at the south end of their parking lots to create the park.

In 2005, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority began negotiations with more than a dozen waterfront landowners to acquire their properties for a total of $3.8 million.
Four properties remain. The authority has an arrangement to buy one.

Two are owned by an offshore investor the authority is confident will sell.

Only one landowner remains a holdout.

And so the park became a phased project. Frustration mounted.

In an unusual move, representatives of all three levels of government in Etobicoke-Lakeshore appeared before Waterfront Toronto's board in the summer to urge it to approve funding to move forward phase two of the park.

Waterfront Toronto allocated the funding three months later.

But whether that funding will acquire the last remaining property to complete the park and trail connection is unknown.

Repeated calls to the authority for comment on the status of those negotiations were not returned.

David Pylyp While in Canada, we don't have the same eminent domain issues for expropriation of property; The Business Communities along the Lake Shore Mimico, Longbranch, would greatly improve their pedestrian and stroller/ bicycle traffic if the Mark Goodman Train continued directly thru to the Mississauga Marina's.

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