Yesterday, the Executive Committee adopted two important sets of recommendations regarding the First Parliament site including the long-awaited First Parliament Master Plan and the staff report explaining the Expropriation of Land by Metrolinx and the Province of Ontario. The reports formally respond to the many motions that I have moved regarding the First Parliament site and the Provincial expropriation of city-owned land for Infrastructure Ontario's oversized "transit-oriented development" and the construction staging area for the building of the Ontario Line's Corktown station.
I want to extend my deepest thanks to the community leaders and residents who deputed at the meeting, including representatives from the West Don Lands Committee, the Gooderham & Worts Neighbourhood Association, St Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, Corktown Residents and Business Association, and the city-led First Parliament Working Group. We heard about the critical importance of local planning and the need to honour the years of hard work assembling these public lands and robust consultation that went into the creation of the First Parliament Master Plan. I echo and fully support the community concerns expressed about the necessity of a significant public park, affordable housing, heritage interpretation, and commemoration as well as a new district public library. I will continue to champion the First Parliament principles contained in the master plan which are critical to building inclusive and complete communities.
Given the aggressive timeline of the Province's expropriation process and the pending loss of valuable, public land, we need to be visionary and demand something beautiful, equitable, community-led, and worthy of this nationally significant historic site. I would like to reiterate what I said at the Executive Committee - that the community and I are not asking for new park space from Infrastructure Ontario - we are asking the Province to return the City-owned and designated parkland they took out of the Master Plan.
City Council needs to be made aware of the gross overreach of Premier Ford. How he is delivering the gift of valuable downtown real estate to his donors and developer friends; and the exorbitant powers he has bestowed on his Ministers to interfere in local planning.
The community and I are not opposed to new density. We welcome new development so long as it respects local planning and in this case the master plan that has been years in the making.
It is my hope that in the next two weeks, City Council will formally endorse the First Parliament Master Plan, and consequently the guiding principles for negotiations with Metrolinx, Infrastructure Ontario, and the Province. I expect Infrastructure Ontario to submit their revised development proposal in November and at that time, we will see how truly collaborative they are willing to be. Until then, our most recent victory is still worth celebrating!