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April 18, 2011

Toronto Waterfront a Financial Success

CANADA - A decade ago Toronto's waterfront was a long neglected wasteland of old factories, disused port lands and an eyesore. It was a stain on Toronto's otherwise beautiful landscape.

The 2,000+ acres was not the type of place people would even live. Who wanted to live next to old crumbling steel buildings that were ugly and rusting?

"Waterfront Toronto" infested in the land, cleaned it up, created such places as Sugar Beach and other hot spots along the waterfront for tourists... and the land has since become “the most valuable property in Canada”.

That is a startling turnaround. So far private developers have invested $1.5 billion in new projects in the waterfront, building hotels, condos, restaurants, stores and more. Developers now WANT to invest in Toronto's waterfront. They're practically fighting over it.

Last week it was the developers and investors who rushed to defend Waterfront Toronto when Councilor Doug Ford (and brother of Mayor Rob Ford) started insulting the Waterfront development and threatening to cutback on city projects designed to boost business in the area.

Toronto only has one waterfront and the pressure to get it right is intense... it doesn't need meddling penny-pinching and corrupt politicians like Doug Ford and Rob Ford. See Rob Ford's Nepotism Knows No Bounds.

When the agency Waterfront Toronto was set up its mandate was to ensure this sort of visionless and corruption filled development never happens again, by preventing backroom deals which would lead to poor choices. The kind of corruption that led to the "condo curtain" west of Queen's Quay... horribly designed and cheaply built condos that in 20 years will be "the new slums of Toronto" according to one Toronto city planner.

Scrapping Waterfront Toronto would be a return to that level of corruption and create more eyesores. Sugar Beach, Sherbourne Common, Corus House and the new George Brown College campus are part of an emerging landscape that will reinvigorate and beautify Toronto's waterfront.

Mayor Rob Ford has a seat on the Waterfront Toronto council... but he hasn't even shown up at any of the meetings. Not one.

That suggest Rob Ford either plans to snub the waterfront, or doesn't even want to discuss his plans to cut the agency's funding and bring in a new era of corruption filled development and backroom deals.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty LOVES Waterfront Toronto. He is one of its strongest supporters and holds it up as a paragon of corporate and civic virtue as well as a model of co-operation between governments, private sectors and business.

Doug Ford, announced last week that government has no business in the affairs of urban revitalization. He thinks the city should just let developers do whatever they want, even if it does become an eyesore and is rife with corrupt backroom deals (which no doubt will fatten the wallets of councilors like Ford).

Doug Ford wants the city to SELL the waterfront off to the highest bidder and privatize Waterfront Toronto.

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