Next steps on Parkland Acquisition in King-Spadina

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As our City grows, we must focus on building liveable neighbourhoods, rather than just adding density - this is my central focus as your local City Councillor.  Today, I am excited to announce our next step towards parkland acquisition in King-Spadina, at 229 Richmond St. W. In response to my letter to Government Management Committee in June, City staff are recommending next steps towards acquiring 229 Richmond Street W for parkland purposes. This represents a key community-building milestone for our fast-growing King-Spadina community.

In 1996, the population of King-Spadina was 1,000 residents. Once all approved and potential development is constructed, more than 40,000 people will call this area home.  The numbers are staggering, and every week I hear from developers with even more proposals. 

However, we have fallen behind in building the critical services and facilities that our communities rely on and that truly make communities vibrant and liveable.  Given the pressing needs in the community, I sought early on to address this gap in the King-Spadina neighbourhood. 

In October 2015, City Council approved our plan for a partnership between the City of Toronto and the YMCA to bring a new YMCA Centre to the Revitalization of the City-owned Waterworks building at 505 Richmond Street West. This partnership demonstrates a real step in building a liveable community in the continually growing area.

In 2013, a City commissioned Community Services and Facilities study found that the King-Spadina area was already deficient in new parkland, as well as in community facilities – and with the further anticipated growth that has continued, the area would continue to become parkland deficient.

Since taking office, I have been working with City staff to review opportunities for new parkland and after nearly 2 years of hard work, staff have identified 229 Richmond Street W. as a potential site for parkland acquisition in King-Spadina. In a report released today, City staff are recommending conducting a Market Value Assessment of this property - a necessary step in the process towards acquisition or expropriation - to set the stage for how we move forward.

If City Councillors endorse the report this week, it will signal a major step in our collective work to build and support our community. It will demonstrate that we are willing to work and invest to ensure we are creating healthy communities, and to build a city that supports our neighbourhoods both today and in the future.

Acquiring new parkland in King-Spadina is a critical step towards ensuring that we are not only building a liveable community, but that we are prioritizing healthy, equitable and well-serviced communities in each and every neighbourhood, and on each and every development, in our Ward.