A $2.4 million study for the Rail Deck Park was approved unanimously by city council Wednesday, despite complaints by the suburbs.
The proposal would cover the rail lines between Bathurst St. and Blue Jays Way with an urban park. Toronto Mayor John Tory compared this 21-acre project to that of Chicago’s millennium Park and New York’s Central Park — all big tourist attractions, with the added bonus of making the downtown core more liveable. The preliminary work is estimated to cost a bit over $1 billion.
Councillor’s unanimously approved the motion to study the feasibility of the park; however, they also took the opportunity to complain about the lack of funding in their wards to maintain park space and clean up their neighbourhoods. York West Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti told his colleagues he would only support the project if suburban parks were given the same consideration and investments.
Because of all the concerns from the suburb councillors, an amendment to the original motion was added to a study on the “deficiencies in parks in the suburbs” and a study on funding mechanisms for parks in other wards.
Both studies will be presented to City Council next year, and will include feasibility, costs of obtaining air rights to the site, and details of the platform used to suspend the park over the rails. Staff will also look at funding alternatives.
Toronto is always growing and expanding — and while building condominiums and malls is important, councillors also need to remember to embrace green spaces. The value of having community space available downtown, where most people work and live, is incredibly important. Toronto needs to have a long-term vision and ambitious planning goals to ensure future generations don’t suffer from intense gridlock and pollution. Building an amazing park overtop of a transit hub is exactly what this city needs.