Doug Ford’s waterfront fantasy meets numbers and facts

The buzz-kills over at the Globe and Mail have thrown cold water all over Doug Ford’s plans for the Port Lands. Chief among the paper’s not-so-surprising revelations is that Ford’s plans could very well require “a significantly revised environmental assessment,” which would amount to a major speed bump (read: millions of dollars) for the project. In other words, if Ford’s ideas seemed more than a touch fanciful—they did include plans for a monorail, a mega-mall, hotels, a giant Ferris wheel and a unicorn sanctuary (unconfirmed)—this piece of reporting may just provide a pretty stern reality check.

From the Globe:

Councillor Doug Ford’s new development scheme for the Port Lands risks a significantly revised environmental assessment, throwing into doubt the promised six-year timeline for his project while potentially adding millions of dollars in additional costs, according to several lawyers familiar with the regulations.

In short, there are significant financial and legal hurdles Ford and his allies will have to negotiate if his designs are ever going to amount to more than a few scribbles on a cocktail napkin. And to make matters worse, Ford also faces a complaint filed today with the city’s lobbyist registrar in response to his private meetings with an Australian shopping mall developer.

The Globe’s story comes shortly after the National Post touted the councillor as the city’s “Idea Man,” describing Ford’s plan to build a sports stadium on an infill a quarter mile out in Lake Ontario (which he apparently drew on the reporter’s notepad, “marking lines around the circular island stadium to illustrate lakeside bars”—heck, you could tailgate from your boat!).

The two papers’ opposing takes fit well with the narrative many have ascribed to the ongoing waterfront saga: fun ideas and private sector dollars pitted against Waterfront Toronto with its environmental assessments and slow-moving bureaucracy. Regardless of perspective, we’re pretty sure this much everybody can agree on: the whole process thus far has been entirely backward. Perhaps city hall should start looking at the logistics before it parades its grand visions out to the public.

Ford plans to make waterfront dazzle [Toronto Sun]Doug Ford’s tourist-friendly plan for Port Lands faces big challenges [Globe and Mail] Doug Ford, the Idea Man [National Post]


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