Late last year three Waterfront Toronto board members were fired over the controversial Quayside project. But the newly appointed chair, Steve Diamond isn’t ready to give up on the project just yet.
In an interview with the Canadian Press, Diamond explains that the smart city project is still very much in the proposal stages and should not be considered a done deal.
“What is important to understand about the current agreement with Sidewalk is that they are supposed to come up with a proposal for Quayside – and in fairness to Sidewalk, it does say in the agreement, with a potential vision for additional lands, which may or may not involve Sidewalk – and Waterfront Toronto and the three levels of government have the opportunity to accept it or reject it,” says Diamond.
First revealed by Waterfront Toronto and Google-affiliated Sidewalk Labs in October 2017, the Quayside Project has been plagued by criticism and concern over data, privacy and funding.
Just last month, new plans were revealed indicating that the full project would expand into the Port Lands.
Documentation uncovered by The Star revealed that Sidewalk Labs was looking to the city for a portion of property taxes and development fees in exchange for building up the area.
“It is unfortunate that the plan has been leaked and there has been so much discussion when we haven’t seen it,” says Diamond, who refrained from directly commenting on whether or not he’d be comfortable rejecting the plans.
According to Diamond, the best thing Waterfront and the City of Toronto can do is review the full plan while maintaining a level of transparency and public input.
“It may be that it’s a complex issue. It may be more straightforward, but I don’t believe we should be making any decisions until the plan comes forward and is further evaluated,” Diamond said.