Increasing Green Space for Citizens in downtown Toronto
by elle_wing on October 7, 2016 - 11:08pm
In the City of Toronto, a new elevated park has been proposed to be built across the railway tracks in the downtown core. With the addition of Rail Deck Park, it would increase the amount of green space in the area, which is lacking compared to other parts of Toronto. According to interviewed citizens living downtown, many agree that a park is much needed in the area. The drawback however is the hefty price tag associated with the development: $1.05 billion dollars (CAD). City Councillors from the suburban areas don’t see how the park can be beneficial to them, especially as a large chunk of money will be invested into a single park away from their wards. They wish to see money to be invested into the parks in their wards as well.
On the other hand, Joe Cressy, the city councillor for where the park is being proposed, is enthusiastic to see a park going in. His reasons being the lack of green spaces in the downtown area, and the need to make the ward more livable as the population is expected to be doubling in the ward, over the next twenty-five years. In a more recent article (5 October 2016), city councillors unanimously approved the budget for the design of Rail Deck Park. There were conditions attached to have this approval, such as providing funding to clean up existing parks and supporting other similar park projects in other wards.
At first glance, green spaces may not be considered “resources” but it does create some form of income through tourism; is part of a community’s culture and identity – here, being that it can become a landmark much like the High Line has in New York; and it is managed by the City, and in this example, the city councillors are making sure their parks or resources, or being cared for too. This is why there is an issue surrounding the concern for whether the Rail Deck Park should be built or not. As seen by articles on Rail Deck Park, there is a conflict of interest as different wards wish to be benefitted as well, instead of spending their funding towards a single major park not in their area. The City Council managed to agree on the proposal by using incentives to persuade the councillors – which was successfully done – and resulted in everyone getting some benefit to the parks in their own wards.
I appreciate the fact that Toronto will be likely getting more green space in a needed area, especially by making the space more multi-functional. It is difficult to create more green space on land that is already developed, so this project will be taking advantage of a void space and making it more productive. My concern is that the City seems to be spending a lot of money for both the proposed park, and other parks in other wards. While it’s great seeing the attention being put on other parks too, I hope that they will slowly develop the Rail Deck Park in a way that won’t hurt the wallets of Toronto citizens too much. Money is also a resource that needs to be managed and controlled. Overall, it is a costly project for the City, but in the long run the park will be beneficial to the City as a whole. Some of these benefits may not directly affect some of its citizens, but will help with the tourism industry, bring a new landmark into the city, increase the amount of green space, intensify development and create a more livable community in the downtown core.
Kim, P. Global News. Rail Deck Park would cost millions more than other Toronto landmarks. 16
September 2016. Retrieved from < http://globalnews.ca/news/2945432/proposed-rail-deck-park-would-cost-mil....
McGilivray, K. (2016). “A view of the tracks as they look now, facing east from Bathurst Street.” [jpg]. Retrieved from <http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/rail-deck-park-city-council-meeting-
McGilivray, K. CBC News. Toronto city council unanimously approves work on Rail Deck Park. 05 October
2016. Retrieved from < http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/rail-deck-park-city-council-meetin....