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Mills' Waterfront Plan -- "Building on the Green Footsteps"

Dennis Mills has completed his plan for Toronto's waterfont. You can read all about it in the website developed for his plan -- Building on the Green Footsteps.

There is something about this that strikes me as rather bizarre. Have there not been many waterfront plans already? Do we not already have a Waterfront Revitalization Corporation that was launched with great fanfare a couple years ago?

Why does Mills' site proclaim "Recommendations for Your Waterfront" when all the recommendations were produced by his personal one-man band? Where did some of these ideas come from? A National Arctic Ocean Aquarium? A branch of the United Nations University for Peace? Did Mills just make these things up?

Some of the ideas may or may not be good, but how about discussing them with Torontonians before trying to rush these through. Here's a quote from the Star:

Two things set Mills' plan apart from the multitude of waterfront reports, planning documents and good intentions aired in the past. First, Mills' review was pulled together in just six weeks lightning speed for a document of this nature. Second, his proposals are far more likely to be acted upon by Ottawa than any that have gone before.

It's no secret that a federal election looms, likely this spring. Mills says Prime Minister Paul Martin told him on Jan. 16 to draft a list of "immediate deliverables" on the waterfront. Mills will fight for quick approval, if possible, before the election.

Further controversy surrounds this plan as Mills intends on funnelling $32 million of the $78M through his unwanted baby, the Toronto Port Authority. (Only $30 M would go to the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation.)

Here's what the mayor said about this, according to the Globe and Mail:

The mayor said that an ongoing role for the port authority is "very unfortunate," not least because the federal agency and the city have not settled their differences over the island bridge project.

"I think that agency serves no useful public purpose and gets in the way of waterfront revitalization," Mr. Miller told reporters, citing the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp. as a model for partnering with the two senior governments.

Contrary to what was predicted, Mills didn't recommend killing the Front Street Extension. He only criticized it as expensive. I was also disappointed to hear Mayor Miller offer continued support for that misguided project.



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