Public input on plans for Villiers Island in the Port Lands sought at June 13 meeting

This artist's rendering shows the proposed Villiers Island in the Port Lands.

By AMARACHI AMADIKE

Over the next 20 to 25 years, Waterfront Toronto and CreateTO hope to embark on a project that will see the creation of an island within the Port Lands.

The Villiers Island project, which will be done in multiple phases with completion expected between 2040 and 2050, will provide between 6,100 to 7,300 residential units to the area, housing at least 15,000 residents with 3,000 jobs also being created.

On Thursday, June 13, the City of Toronto’s Planning and Housing Committee will host a public meeting to further discuss these plans and review updates made to the proposal.

At the meeting, councillors will review an application which aims to amend Toronto’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law in order for the Villiers Island project to commence.

During past public consultations, the topic of affordable housing, along with build form, dominated discussions.

In the June 19, 2023 meeting, officials revealed that although the city’s mandate is to deliver a minimum of 20 per cent affordable units, the Villiers Island project has a goal of creating an inclusive community with 30 per cent of the development expected to be affordable housing built on publicly owned land.

This would mean that the project will provide 1,200 to 1,500 affordable units.

“We are at the precinct planning stage, which will be informed by an affordable housing strategy,” said a city official. “Detailed breakdowns will be developed as part of business and implementation planning.”

Although the City of Toronto wishes to build affordable housing on public land, Toronto-Danforth Councillor, Paula Fletcher revealed that applications put forward by private developers have so far failed to implement affordable options in their proposals.

With no power to mandate affordable housing from private developers, city staff says that Toronto is working with both the federal and provincial governments to leverage “National Housing Strategy programs and provincial operating funding” in order to achieve the affordable housing target.

According to the Port Lands Planning Framework, most of Villiers Island will be a mixed-use residential district comprising residential units, offices, retail spaces as well as various other services.

The project is expected to provide at least one elementary school which will be located along the Keating Channel Promenade. There will also be a community centre on New Cherry Street and Villiers Street equipped with an indoor pool and gymnasium space.

At the June 13 meeting, community members will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on various aspects of the project. They will also receive updates from CreateTO and Waterfront Toronto representatives.

Anyone who would like to participate in discussions must register by emailing phc@toronto.ca or by phone at 416-397-4579 before the noon deadline on Wednesday, June 12.

Waterfront Toronto is a partnered corporation created by the City of Toronto, Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada to oversee and deliver the revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront. The Port Lands initiative aims to transform 800 hectares of brownfield lands on Toronto’s waterfront into sustainable mixed-use communities while also naturalizing the mouth of the Don River as it meets Lake Ontario.

For more information on the Villiers Island development, visit https://www.waterfrontoronto.ca/our-projects/villiers-island


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