In June of 2017, Toronto Mayor John Tory made the proposal to city council to build a 20-acre park in the middle of the downtown core. As of December’s, last council meeting of the year, a 36-4 vote put the plan in motion.
The planned Rail Deck Park would cost the city an estimated $1.7 billion and take up much of the valuable space in downtown Toronto. The green space is looking to span from Toronto Blue Jay’s Way through to Bathurst Street along Front Street West. The idea is to create a destination area for tourists and city residents.
City Councillor says the hefty $1.665 billion price tag could be covered thanks to a rule in the Ontario Planning Act that would allow the city to collect fees from property developers in exchange for the higher density. However, the budget is associated with a design that is already complete which accounts for 5% of the overall price tag. Meaning, the end cost could end up way over budget.
Many residents and experts are opposed to the plan claiming it to be a waste of money and space. One city Councilman went on record as saying, “we’re creating a park from nothing,” in reference to destroying public space to create a green area that does not exist. The ambitious plan provides a growing city less space, fewer jobs, and less tax income.