Toronto just nixed plans for condos at Rail Deck Park site

The City of Toronto has big plans for the sprawling railway corridor between Bathurst St. and Blue Jays Way – and none them involve condo towers.

It should come as little surprise, then, that Toronto and East York community council voted against a private development today that would see a portion of the proposed Rail Deck Park space used for the construction of eight skyscrapers.

A final vote will come at the next city council meeting and the developers behind what’s been dubbed the “ORCA” project can still appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board, but the municipal stance is not expected to change.

Toronto wants to build an idyllic legacy park with 21 acres of green space downtown, and even as the ambitious project’s funding is unclear, the vision is being fiercely protected.

P.I.T.S. Developments, on the other hand, wants to use the same site for eight mixed use buildings and 12.8 acres of privately-owned parkland. 

City council won’t vote on the issue until the end of this month, but based on how much support councillors and other Toronto power brokers have shown for Rail Deck Park so far, it’s very unlikely that they’ll concede.

Plus, as the city’s Community Planning Division noted in an agenda for today’s Toronto and East York Community Council meeting, the P.I.T.S. application “does not conform to” many existing official city and provincial policies.

One issue that complicates the future the site (over and above the money to build the park) is the sticky issue of air rights. It’s still unclear as to who actually owns the space in question. If P.I.T.S. can prove its claim, the fight is sure to be a long one. 

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