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Study shows waterfront construction brings return on investment

A report by Urbanmetrics for Waterfront Toronto, has found that as a result of spending $642 million on projects to...


A report by Urbanmetrics for Waterfront Toronto, has found that as a result of spending $642 million on projects to revitalize the city’s waterfront, governments saw new revenues and a return on investment.

The study found that the $642 million invested to date has generated $1.6 billion in gross output for the Canadian economy, as well as 8,400 full-time years of employment.

The largest portion of the investment — 4219.5 million, or 34% – was invested in waterfront construction projects. These include new “wave decks,” parks, promenades, but also flood protection of the West Don Lands and development of infrastructure in that area.

The study found that 95% of the expenditures were made in Ontario, and 90% within Toronto. All levels of government have seen a return on their investments through new revenues — $180 million has been generated for the federal government, $124 million for the province, and $20 million for the city.

A second phase of analysis measuring the expected impacts of future benefits once the waterfront plan is more fully realized is being done in the coming months. It will include the benefits of permanent jobs, property taxes and tourism spending.

The Simcoe Wavedeck, designed by Halsall Associates, was officially opened on June 12. It is the second and most dramatic urban dock being built along the city’s central waterfront, featuring an amphitheatre-like space that soars 2.6 metres.

The city has also been abuzz over a proposition by Les Klein of Quadrangle Architects to build a new structure above the Gardiner Expressway as a 7-kilometre linear park. He says the “Green Ribbon,” similar to New York’s High Line park, would protect the elevated traffic artery from snow, reducing winter wear and tear. Klein says it is a better alternative to dismantling the expressway, which is the option favoured by the mayor and Waterfront Toronto, the public body in charge of the waterfront’s redevelopment.