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Urban Thinkers Line Up Against Ford’s Waterfront Plan

"Recent proposals to radically alter plans and development control for the Lower Don Lands are ill-conceived, reckless, and, if adopted, will result in irrevocable harm to the City."

The view from the Port Lands. Photo by {a href=""}Andrew Snow{/a}, from the {a href=""}Torontoist Flickr Pool{/a}.

In a strongly worded open letter to Toronto city councillors, a long list of urban thinkers are condemning Rob Ford’s recent attempt to revamp long-planned development projects for the Port Lands. The letter was written by Eric Miller (director of the Cities Centre at U of T), Paul Bedford (former chief planner for Toronto), Richard Sommer (dean of U of T’s architecture school), and Richard Florida (director of the Martin Prosperity Institute). It’s been signed by 148 academics, planners, designers, and activists, and will be formally presented at a press conference at 1:30 this afternoon.

The letter calls on councillors to stand by Waterfront Toronto and their development plans, plans which emerged from years of public consultation and some of which are already underway. Signatories are not pulling their punches: “The facts concerning Waterfront Toronto’s history, performance and current plans have been misrepresented in the recent Port Lands proposal endorsed by the Mayor. The alternative vision is deeply flawed.”

The full text of the letter is after the jump.

Toronto Portlands Letter


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  • Anonymous

    I’m glad that this plan probably won’t go through. I’d hate to see the Port Lands in the same position as the Sheppard subway – sitting there waiting for private money to come through before anything is done.

  • Mark Evans

    It was encouraging to see that Jaye Robinson has broken ranks with the Ford Bros. on the waterfront. Her interview with Matt Galloway this morning demonstrated her respect for the process and work that has gone into the planning process. Let’s see if the other councillors have the courage to do the right thing.

  • Nathan Kelly

    This is great; but when has the Ford administration ever been convinced by research, evidence, or rational thinking?

    • Anonymous

      who cares about Ford anymore, it’s about the other councillors who keep supporting him.

      • Patrick Smyth

        Exactly, maybe now the elites will stop chasing after balls thrown by RF to distract them. If Jay Robinson has been getting emails/phonecalls about the Waterfront issue isn’t it obvious that Karen Stintz must be getting them too? There’s little difference in the demographic in Robinso/Stintz/Matlow Wards. Just as we are telling Stintz that she wasn’t selected as councillor for Ward 16 so she could eliminate bus service on Avenue Road, we need to tell her to support the Waterfront plan. It’s a shame we have to drag these wannabe professional pols into the democratic process after they’ve been elected. But, this has been the problem on Council for many’s-a-year. It’s not all down to Rob Ford, you know.

  • Dead Robot

    Oh great. Now he has a place to put his coffee in the morning.

  • Aric Guité

    I love love love that this is on UofT letterhead.

    • SydneyCarton

      It certainly adds a lot of weight to the letter. The fact is UofT (together with Ryerson and York) is a local institution that locals hold in much higher regard and esteem than city hall.

  • Anonymous

    Rob Ford quit university. Do you really think Rob will actually read it? It has big words like “flawed”, “inferior”, and “reasoning”. While I understand the report, does one really think Rob would understand that the report goes against his bright ideas.

    We should concentrate on the other councillors, both left wing, moderate right wing, and middle of the road, to read the report (and comments from the citizens of Toronto) and understand that that the Ford brothers are wrong.

    • Paul Kishimoto

      “Dear Toronto Councillors…”

  • Anonymous

    Dougie is going to get you all fired.

  • Yes

    Wow. An excellent letter by some people who clearly know a thing or two about city building.

  • Mark Dowling

    This letter is of limited value except that it might persuade one or two of the mushy middle. If anything it will fire up the teabaggers who will rant about ivory towers, and planners defending the use of tax dollars to produce their fancy plans rather than letting the private sector make us all rich.

    What we need is a letter signed by 100+ CEOs saying “Rob, we won’t pay higher commercial property taxes because you p$$$ed away the gains from a properly planned and executed redevelopment”