York Quay Neighbourhood Association covers Toronto’s iconic Central Waterfront, with members in every building. YQNA is actively engaged in what shapes our neighbourhood – traffic, transit, planning, cultural and social events, policing, environment, noise, businesses, and the great urban renewal transforming Queens Quay. YQNA welcomes all residents to participate, share their ideas and enjoy our events.
(Photo: L-R: Ribbon cutting attendees, Braz Menezes, Waterfront BIA and YQNA; and Adam Vaughan, Councillor, Ward 20)
Simcoe Street opened recently and is already a much-used artery between Queens Quay and downtown. It includes bike lanes that YQNA had pushed for, to provide a safe ride for cyclists. Thousands visit the Waterfront on two wheels, and many residents here either bike or walk to work. The pedestrian routes on Simcoe are also well designed, though the parts across Lake Shore Boulevard and under the Gardiner are still rough and unfinished. At least we can now drive, bike and walk much faster to many downtown destinations, such as the theatres on King Street.
A similar ribbon cutting was taking place September 29 (after the Update deadline) at Harbour Street and Yonge Street. The new streetscape here is also designed to include bike lanes, and the sidewalks have a generous width. Councillor Pam McConnell was the key speaker, and many Waterfront residents attended.
YQNA has participated in many meetings that focused on what to do with the Canada Malting Silos on Queens Quay near Bathurst. They are an eyesore and a danger because the walls are deteriorating.
Would it become a music school? A museum? A condo/hotel development? After years of discussion and studies, we now hear that the silos might be torn down. That’s a surprise, because we have always been told that it would be too expensive to remove these solid concrete structures. The cost in the past was estimated to be $8 million, which may be eclipsed by the land value today despite being next to the landing path to the Island Airport.
The City’s Heritage Preservation Services oversees the silos. So far, they have not invited us to a public consultation on what’s going on. YQNA has asked to be included, especially because of the effort that our residents have put into this issue. We know that a Toronto Museum is no longer in the cards for this location. Many people wish the silos gone, but don’t want other tall buildings to take their place.
Newspaper reports from a recent board meeting at Waterfront Toronto gave vague and different reports about delays of the redesign of Queens Quay. YQNA is now investigating what – if anything – has changed. Councillor Adam Vaughan says the construction will go ahead as planned, starting next fall. To be certain, YQNA will get together with representatives from along the Waterfront in a meeting with Waterfront Toronto management. We want to keep the momentum going on Queens Quay.
Rosario Marchese, Member of Provincial Parliament, was guest speaker at YQNA’s meeting on Sep. 15. He talked about the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) that McGuinty plans to introduce in July 2010. It would increase condo fees – along with numerous other services and products – to levels that could make life difficult for the most vulnerable people on fixed incomes.
Instead of the HST, Marchese would prefer to tax the highest earners more and leave some basic needs at the current, lower tax. At the well-attended meeting, he urged us to sign his petition on www.RosarioMarchese.ca or write premier McGuinty with a request to stop the HST.
The series of undulating boardwalks on the Central Waterfront have a new addition — the spectacular Simcoe WaveDeck that opened June 12, with representatives of Waterfront Toronto and three levels of government at the ribbon-cutting.
The first deck at the bottom of Spadina was completed last summer. A third deck is underway at Rees Street. These unique decks open up the areas at the water’s edge, with benches for relaxation and structural curves that will build up leg muscles in those who climb on them. They are the brainchild of architects from West 8 in Rotterdam and du Toit Allsopp Hillier in Toronto.
We are now waiting for the much touted redesign of Queens Quay with wide sidewalks, bicycle lanes and street furniture. YQNA hopes construction will begin soon and take precedence over other Waterfront developments.