West Side Community Council letter to city regarding Ontario place.

April 23, 2019

Dear Members of the TEYCC:

Re: TE5.27 Ontario Place Revitalization – Results of Subcommittee Consultation, Guiding Principles and Next Steps

I speak on behalf of the West Side Community Council, which represents twelve West End community associations, including the Liberty Village Residents’ Association, the Parkdale Residents Association, and many others near Ontario Place.1

The West Side Community Council is a participating member of Waterfront for All and Ontario Place for All, and we endorse the content of deputations being made by representatives of those organizations.

We support TEYCC’s initiative to provide guidance to Council on the redevelopment of Ontario Place and are strongly supportive of the Staff report and recommendations that you will be considering at your meeting.

Exhibition Place, like Ontario Place, is under threat of effective privatization. Unlike Ontario Place, however, Exhibition Place is city-owned, and therefore is under YOUR jurisdiction. We call on the members of TEYCC, the Mayor, and Toronto City Council to extend their concern with Ontario Place to Exhibition Place.

More specifically, we call on the City to take action addressing the following privatization encouraging initiatives:

1. In 2010, the City changed its ‘Relationship Framework’ with the Exhibition Place Board of Governors from one requiring the Board to take revenue into account, to one requiring the Board to “maximize revenue from all sources”. This new imperative has removed any incentive to develop and foster the lands as park and community spaces, and has served as an excuse for the Board to appropriate public lands and redistribute them into private hands in the form of long-term leases (as with, the twelve acres handed over to Hotel X in a 99-year lease).

We call on the City to revise the Relationship Framework agreement with Exhibition Place to remove the requirement that the Board “maximize revenue from all sources”.

2. In 2006, most of Exhibition Place was converted from ‘Park and Open Space’ land-use designation to ‘Regeneration’ land-use designation, allowing leases of longer than 21 years. By the City’s own definition of ‘disposal’, such leases dispose those public lands into private hands. The Board of Governors has now introduced an Official Plan amendment that would allow leases of longer than 21 years in the remaining ‘Park and Open Space’ areas. We call on the City to reject this requested Official Plan amendment, and to revisit the previous conversion of parklands to ‘regeneration’ lands with renewed public consultation to reflect the unanticipated outcomes of the waterfront planning exercises of 15 years ago.

3. Currently, local community associations are unrepresented on the Exhibition Place Board of Governors. We call on the City to require that the Board include two representatives of local community associations.

In conclusion: Both Ontario Place and Exhibition Place are under serious threat of effective privatization. We endorse any and all efforts to keep these public lands in public hands

Thank you.

Ric Amis

Chair, West Side Community Council

Members of the WSCC include the Grange Community Association, the Harbord Village Residents’ Association, the Garment District Neighbourhood Association, the Trinity Bellwoods Community Association, the Ossington Community Association, the Lakeview Avenue Neighbourhood Association, the Liberty Village Residents’ Association, Beaconsfield Village Residents’ Association, Active 18, the Parkdale Residents Association, Roncesvalles–Macdonell Residents Association, and the Bloordale Community Improvement Association.

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