Next week will see two pivotal events that could determine the future of Ontario Place, and whether it remains an Ontario Place that is for all of us. It could be a classic good news/bad news situation.
First, starting Tuesday, Toronto City Council will meet to decide its position on the province’s plans to redevelop the site. The first of two reports going to Council will propose the City work with Queen’s Park to develop a strategy to jointly plan the future of Ontario Place and Exhibition Place in a collaborative, co-operative and consultative manner with all stakeholders.
The second report lays out the guiding principles that City staff believe should govern the revitalization of Ontario Place.
Ontario Place for All fully supports the reports going to City Council. We believe they align fully with our principles and are the best way to ensure a future for Ontario Place that includes all of us. Joe Cressy, the City councillor for Spadina Fort-York deserves a lot of credit for making this happen.
More ominously, next Thursday, the Ontario Government is expected to release its Request for Expressions of Interest, a more detailed outline of what it wants to see at Ontario Place. This document will give developers broad guidelines on what they should propose for the 155-acre waterfront park.
Ontario Place for All is very concerned that this Request for Expressions of Interest is going to open up Ontario Place to widespread commercial development. The government’s promises to consult with stakeholders now appear hollow.
So next week the battle to preserve Ontario Place as a 21st Century Park will officially begin, and we need to rise to the challenge. While we been quietly organizing and preparing for this event over the winter, now is the time that Ontario Place for All needs your help.
We are planning to hold a number of events this spring and this summer, to emphasize the widespread opposition to what the Government has said it is going to do, highlight the existing beauty and vitality of this dynamic waterfront park, and to show how any changes to Ontario Place can benefit all Ontarians, not just developers.