STANDING COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
COMITÉ PERMANENT DES FINANCES ET DES AFFAIRES ÉCONOMIQUES
Thursday 28 November 2002 Jeudi 28 novembre 2002
Thursday 28 November 2002 Jeudi 28 novembre 2002
The Chair (Mr Joseph Spina): Good morning, everyone. I call this meeting to order. The first item on our agenda is the adoption of the subcommittee report dated November 12. Do I have a mover for that?
(9) That all witnesses for Bill 151 be offered a maximum of 20 minutes in which to make their presentations with the actual amount of time offered to be determined on Thursday, November 21, 2002, depending on the number of requests received.
(13) That the clerk of the committee, in consultation with the Chair, be authorized, prior to the adoption of the report of the subcommittee, to commence making any preliminary arrangements to facilitate the committee's proceedings.
Because we have accepted that subcommittee report, we now are in a position to entertain deputations for Bill 151, An Act respecting the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation, a bill put forward by the Hon Janet Ecker.
While you're getting settled, I'll take this opportunity to indicate to all that presentations are 20 minutes long, which will be a combination of your presentation and any questions the panel may have in any time you may leave after your presentation. We expect to conclude at 12:05. That will be the sum total of the delegations for this committee.
Ms Louise Verity: Good morning. It's a pleasure to be here. My name is Louise Verity, and I am director of policy with the Toronto Board of Trade. With me is Angie Brennand, who is a policy adviser with the Toronto Board of Trade. We certainly appreciate the opportunity today to participate in the hearings on Bill 151.
At the outset, I would like to clearly convey our concern with the legislation. In our view, the authority vested in the corporation is much weaker than it should be. We are concerned that the powers set out in the legislation will not allow for successful transformation of Toronto's waterfront in an effective and timely way.
The Toronto Board of Trade has been a long-standing proponent of waterfront revitalization. We view waterfront redevelopment as Toronto's opportunity to reposition itself on the global stage and secure its future contribution to Ontario's economic growth.
We commend the province on its $500-million commitment to this important infrastructure project. The waterfront corporation's business strategy provides a clear rationale for this commitment, an estimated 3:1 return on public investment.
We believe that the authority in this legislation is central to the success of rebuilding Toronto's waterfront. The structure and powers of the corporation will determine its ability to transform our derelict waterfront. Common to all the world's great waterfront cities are strong, mandate-specific urban development corporations. Successful urban development corporations typically act as a business, but possess key government powers for catalyzing reinvestment.
We urge you to amend Bill 151 to give it greater clout. We make this comment after reviewing the powers of corporations used by our competitors in the United States and the United Kingdom. To that end, we urge you to amend Bill 151 in three ways: first, enshrine the corporation's powers in the legislation so that it can be responsive to change over a 25-year time horizon; second, create the strong, powerful corporation required to successfully implement the waterfront plan; and, third, balance these considerable powers with strong accountability measures.
A word on the first item, legislated powers important to successful implementation: the waterfront corporation, as you know, is governed by a board of directors appointed by its three government partners. In our view, giving powers to the corporation on an annual or case-by-case basis puts the entire waterfront plan at risk. Legislating the corporation's powers is critical for two reasons.
First, the corporation needs to be responsive in order to implement the waterfront plan and engage the private sector. We believe that opportunities for private sector investment will be mired if the corporation cannot act powerfully and responsively in a business environment.
Toronto's waterfront revitalization must not be derailed by political disagreement or special interests, which is often very much the case as to what occurs in the city of Toronto. We believe that enshrining the corporation's powers in legislation is essential.
Successful urban development corporations typically possess a range of tools to fulfill their mandate and leverage private sector investment. It is our view that the corporation should be able to own, buy, sell and develop land; raise revenue; borrow; mortgage; and establish subsidiaries.
The Board of Trade believes that government agencies should coordinate all waterfront activities through the corporation. We support the corporation's request for the ability to coordinate funding from various levels of government. We believe that the power to make grants, loans and secure or guarantee loans will increase the corporation's ability to implement the waterfront plan. It should be empowered to enter into contracts, select developers and contractors, and implement financial tools such as tax-exempt municipal bonds.
Our research indicates that effective urban development corporations in the US and the UK typically possess a range of tools to fulfill their mandate and to leverage private sector investment. Examples include the Battery Park City Authority in New York, the Baltimore Development Corp, the Boston Redevelopment Authority and certainly Canary Wharf in the UK.
To balance what we believe to be really central powers, we're also recommending new accountability measures. These broadened powers must be balanced by strong accountability measures in order to secure public and private engagement and support. We recommend that the corporation be legislated to keep the public apprised of its activities and publish annual financial statements and business plans. It must also be subject to freedom of information requests and adhere to strong conflict of interest policies.
Previous attempts to revitalize our waterfront have failed, in part, we believe, because we have lacked an effective organization to finance and manage redevelopment. We believe Toronto's waterfront revitalization to be critical to the future of Toronto, the GTA region, the province and the country.
Mr Gerry Phillips (Scarborough-Agincourt): I appreciate the comments. The challenge here, I think, is that the public is very, very skeptical of behind-closed-doors secret deals and money being made that they don't see. It's a challenge. Frankly, I share a lot of the public's concerns; I increasingly share them.
Ms Verity: That issue has certainly come to the fore recently, in the last few days in particular I think, covered through the media. We are not supportive of holding all the corporation's meetings in public. One thing we would really commend the corporation on to date is the fact that it has held very open public consultations. Right now there are consultations that the corporation is involved in with the city of Toronto, a number of them across the city. There are also consultations that have been held, I think, by the planning department at the city. It's really been an extremely open process. I think our concern is that if all of a sudden every single meeting is entirely open, every development deal -- there's such a level of openness -- it will just become so gridlocked that nothing will be able to take place.
If you look at other things that are happening in the city of Toronto today, we're almost paralyzed in so many different areas, and I would hate to see that happen in the case of the waterfront corporation.
Would you see it as appropriate that you have a member on the waterfront revitalization board who also is a board member -- if I'm not mistaken, the waterfront corporation just sent a letter of some support for the airport redevelopment. You've got a sort of cross-pollination of directors on these two boards, kind of wearing two hats. Would you, or would the board, see that as something we should try to guard against?
Ms Verity: To be honest, we have not looked at that particular issue in a lot of detail. All I know is that, from a conflict-of-interest standpoint, really the onus is back on the government, because it's the three levels of government that have made the appointments of those individuals who are sitting on the corporation. So I would really put the question back to them.
But most boards of directors do have that, and we do for our board as well, even for anyone who's participating in the board's policy work, to ensure they are aware that they are, at the end of the day, going to be making recommendations that are reflective of the business community as a whole, not their specific sector. So I think it just makes good sense in this era to really look at that question.
Certainly the question of the composition of the board -- we haven't gotten into that in our submission. I think that has been very much set. But certainly conflict of interest is something that does warrant consideration, and I would anticipate that it's something the corporation is looking at.
Mr Phillips: Do you have any suggestions for language we should put in? We're approving a bill that sets the criteria for how the province appoints its directors to this board. Have you any language that you think we should consider?
Ms Verity: We didn't bring the language that we've been looking at with us today, but we would certainly be happy to work with the committee or work with different people who are interested in bringing forward amendments.
Mr Michael Prue (Beaches-East York): I'm going to go pretty much in the same vein. Having come from the city of Toronto just a little over a year ago to this august place, I have to tell you that the deals made behind closed doors in the city have turned out to be absolutely disastrous, and what you're asking for is that an agency be given the same power, the same thing that produced the MFP scandal, the same thing that produced the TEDCO and Knob Hill lands fiasco, and I'm sure there are going to be others.
Why is it necessary that the meetings be held in private? I don't understand. There is the provision in municipal law, and provincial and federal, that things can go in camera if necessary but must be reported out in public. I don't understand why you want to keep these secret.
Secondly, I think it's probably worth considering, if you want to look at other models or other bodies, even government agencies and some of the boards there, how they conduct their business. You cannot conduct business effectively with the public at every meeting. I think even the city of Toronto, in the last 24 hours, in their deliberations on the City Centre Airport, have spent more time in camera than not on some of these issues.
It may be fair game for the corporation to have a regular dialogue with the public, have a regular consultation. There may be things they would want to do in that regard where you can satisfy the needs of the public. But ultimately you need to set up a structure that has the ability to make decisions. Our concern is that if every meeting is open, you won't have an environment that is conducive to getting the job done.
Mr Prue: I don't think anyone's asking that every meeting be -- I think everyone wants every meeting to be open, but everyone should understand that some things are required to go in camera: matters of legal importance, being sued in the courts, land deals. It's all set out in the legislation, for municipalities at least, those things that can go in camera, and everything else has to be out. Why couldn't the corporation act the same way?
Ms Verity: First of all, there are a lot of very challenging issues, and I would be concerned that the public environment that we now have in the city of Toronto in some ways actually prevents the city from getting the job done. I wouldn't want to set up the corporation in such a way that every single meeting was so open, and with so many interruptions, that they couldn't conduct their business. I think there would really be a danger of that in the type of model you're proposing.
Mr Prue: Is there not an equal or even worse danger of deals being made behind closed doors where people profit by them? I look to TEDCO, where Toronto had councillors on and people they had appointed. The deal with Knob Hill Farms was, I think, not in the public interest.
Ms Verity: That's why I think, on the other side of the equation, we are also recommending some very strong accountability measures to be put into place. I also think that the conflict-of-interest policy and some of the accountability areas are perhaps the areas where the government should be really involved in the interim as appropriation is getting established. We really, I would say, feel quite strongly that we must set up a structure in a way that allows the board to make decisions and to move forward.
I think what's also important is that, as the government is making their recommendations to appoint members of the board, those members meet the conflict-of-interest standard that is set, and also that the board has the type of expertise that's required to make good decisions.
Mr Prue: Taxpayers in the province of Ontario are putting forward $500 million. The city of Toronto is putting forward mostly land. The federal government's putting, I guess, $500 million as well. How are the taxpayers protected in their investment?
Ms Verity: I think I've already stated that ultimately the governments representing the taxpayers are making the recommendation as to who sits on the board of directors. I think the taxpayers can be very well served by strong accountability procedures. Some of the other procedures that I mentioned in the deputation, just access to financial statements and annual reports -- some of those items are already in the legislation, but I think if there is a very strong conflict-of-interest policy in place, it could certainly go a long way to satisfying what you're looking to satisfy.
Mr Sampson: Yes. In the world you come from and are representing with the board of trade, many of the businesses you represent through that association have shareholders. I guess along the same line of questions that have come from my colleagues opposite, the concept of that business environment relationship isn't -- whoever is running the corporation is ultimately responsible to the shareholders. Yet, when we set up public corporations, we tend to have them corporations without shares. In fact, section 2(6) says that this is a company that will in fact erase the existing temporary shares that are being held by, I'm assuming, the city of Toronto, the province and the feds.
When you don't have a shareholder, I guess my question is, how do you make sure the accountability that you've referenced in your delivery gets demonstrated on a day-to-day basis by the people who are running the corporation? I think that was the theme and the line of questioning from both gentlemen before me.
Ms Verity: Well, I think I would probably answer the question in the same way, which is that the government has the ability to make the appointments to the board of directors. Ultimately, for the waterfront corporation to succeed in the longer term, it's going to require continued involvement from every level of government, not just today but for a decade or so going forward, and more. I think the government at the end of the day will ultimately be able to evaluate the work of the corporation in that type of way.
I guess what I continue to come back to -- we have the opportunity to observe all three levels of government fairly closely at the Toronto Board of Trade. We work with all three levels of government. I think the challenge that the city -- with everything happening in the open all the time, sometimes it really prevents decisions being made and long-term planning occurring. We would really hate to see the corporation be a victim of this type of approach. It's really within that spirit that we are making our recommendations.
Mr Bert Johnson (Perth-Middlesex): I had a question. It may follow the same theme, but I'll ask it from a little different direction. It is in connection with transportation. My colleagues come from Toronto. I want to ask a question around one of those people who want to come into downtown Toronto every once in a while. I'm going to come down to a ballgame, a hockey game. I want to come to the exhibition. I want to come to the Royal Winter Fair. I don't want to take two days to get into downtown Toronto and back.
I guess my question is around transportation, the Gardiner, the airport, those other things that bring people in and out of downtown Toronto and the way they are represented on the board by either federal or provincial government appointees. How do they get their interest across that way?
Mr Johnson: If that's a reasonable thing to think about, how does that get to the board of directors? As Rob says, there are no shareholders. As Mr Phillips says, there aren't direct strings on it. Mr Prue says they aren't open meetings. How do those interests get to the board?
Ms Verity: Right. I think all three levels of government also have a role to play in terms of ensuring Toronto's infrastructure moves smoothly. We have released a report that shows that Toronto has a significant infrastructure deficit. One of the things we were pleased to see in the waterfront redevelopment plan is the fact that they are certainly looking at ways of coordinating all of the transportation networks with the waterfront revitalization. I'm not sure I've answered your question.
Mr Robert Fung: Mr Chairman, members of the committee, good morning. My name is Robert Fung. I am the chair of the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp. I would like to thank committee members for allowing me to address you today.
I was pleased to see, on reading the second reading debate on Bill 151, there is general agreement among the three provincial parties that Toronto's waterfront offers an unprecedented opportunity for this city, the province and Canada. This all-party support is in keeping with the strong support and commitment that is shared by the three levels of government.
In the year 2001, the government of Canada, the province of Ontario and the city of Toronto formally announced the creation of the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp. Currently, the corporation exists as an interim corporation. Despite our interim status, we've been able to start the job of revitalization.
In the spring, we launched four priority projects: the Front Street extension, flood protection and naturalization of the lower Don River, the subway platform expansion at Union Station and the portlands preparation project. In October, we submitted our development plan and business strategy to the three levels of government. We held 10 public meetings during November to hear from city residents on the strategy.
Passage of Bill 151 is important because it will give the corporation permanent status and because it provides a framework for establishing the powers and authorities the corporation needs to implement the development plan and business strategy.
I want to focus my remarks today on three areas: first, the role of the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp and the rationale for having such a corporation; secondly, I want to talk about the powers the corporation requires to fulfill its mandate and, equally important, the responsibilities and accountabilities that go along with these powers; and, finally, I would like to talk to you about the corporation's vision for revitalizing Toronto's waterfront.
In 2000, the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Task Force recommended that the three levels of government establish a special corporation to take the lead in waterfront renewal. This recommendation was based on the success of such entities in other cities that have carried out landmark waterfront revitalization projects. These cities include London, New York, Barcelona, Sydney and Shanghai, among many others.
In these jurisdictions, redevelopment corporations have been responsible for integrating the planning, financing, construction, marketing and other aspects of revitalization around a core function of urban design. They each use a private sector business model. They are supported by public powers. The result is that these corporations have successfully established world-renowned public spaces and amenities. They have engaged private investment through building and infrastructure development, the proceeds from which are set against public costs.
An example that is likely familiar to many is the London docklands. There, the London Docklands Development Corp leveraged $5 billion in public sector financing to attract more than $19 billion in private sector investment. About 80,000 jobs have been created and 24,000 housing units for a range of incomes have also been built.
The economic transformation of the docklands is dramatic, but even more dramatic is how the docklands transformed London. Once a shabby and industrial wasteland, the docklands are now a cultural and recreational jewel. Any visitor can tell you that the docklands are where many of London's most exciting attractions are located. One must also ask the question that if Canary Wharf was not built, would London today be one of the principal global financial centres?
The three levels of government, numerous agencies, as well as private landowners, have a stake in the development of Toronto's waterfront. However, none of these entities has the mandate or authority to oversee the implementation of an overall integrated Toronto waterfront revitalization strategy. Previous attempts to revitalize Toronto's waterfront have failed because not only could the three levels of government not get together, but because we have lacked an effective mechanism to oversee and coordinate the management and financing of redevelopment. This is the role of the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp. We will take the lead in working with the three levels of government and their agencies, the private sector and, most importantly, the public, to ensure that a coherent, successful strategy is implemented and is in keeping with the publicly approved vision.
Before I move on, I also want to stress that the corporation will be carrying out revitalization within the context of the city of Toronto's official plan, which is required in Bill 151. The corporation has been working very closely with city of Toronto to make our development plan and the city's central waterfront secondary plan mutually supportive and consistent.
Bill 151 sets out the framework through which the waterfront revitalization corporation's powers and authorities will be developed in conjunction with the three levels of government. These powers will enable the corporation to operate like a conventional development corporation. These powers will allow the corporation to borrow and raise revenue, purchase and sell or lease land and, if necessary, create subsidiaries.
The corporation will also need to access the expropriation powers of government and, so long as these powers are available to the corporation, the corporation does not need to possess them directly. Through discussions with government, appropriate conditions will be placed on these powers to ensure that their use fits with the objectives set out in our development plan and business strategy.
I want to stress that in order for the corporation to function effectively these discussions need to happen as soon as possible. The corporation's powers must be clearly defined and agreed to, so that the corporation can carry out its business without having to seek government approval on a piecemeal basis. I believe we can achieve this.
We are also pleased with the government's proposed amendment to Bill 151 to allow our board of directors to conduct a review of the corporation's operations after 12 months and to report back to government on any changes in the corporation's powers that may be required to effectively carry out our revitalization mandate.
The corporation recognizes that accountability and transparency go hand in hand with being entrusted with these powers and authorities. Public trust is essential for the success of waterfront revitalization. These principles underlie the operations of the corporation, including our interactions with the private sector.
Bill 151 requires the corporation to submit an annual business plan to the three levels of government for approval and provide regular reporting on our activities throughout the year. The legislation also requires that the corporation include a public consultation strategy in the business plan, publish an annual report and hold a public annual general meeting.
We take seriously the need for a dialogue with the public. A public consultation strategy was included in our development plan and business strategy that was submitted to government in October. It is in the package that has been distributed to you.
The corporation is committed to effective two-way communications with members of the public. The corporation recognizes that public consultation is an integral part of the revitalization of Toronto's waterfront. As Bill 151 recognizes, public consultation improves the quality of decisions and is a key objective of the corporation. As I mentioned earlier, we have just completed a round of 10 public meetings on the development plan and business strategy.
Finally, to enhance accountability, Bill 151 sets out requirements for conflict of interest. The corporation has already established a rigorous conflict-of-interest and code of conduct policy for our directors, officers, employees and third-party contractors, and this policy is also included in your package. The policy has been reviewed by and had the benefit of input from the Honourable Charles Dubin. The corporation has retained the former Chief Justice of Ontario to provide ongoing independent advice on governance, conflict of interest and procurement issues.
Bill 151 aims to equip the corporation with the tools we require to implement a vision for revitalization that has the support of three levels of government and the people of Toronto. I want to now briefly describe that vision so that you can all appreciate why passage of this legislation is so vital.
At its core, the revitalization of Toronto's waterfront is an infrastructure project driving an economic model. What this means is that we are going to leverage public investment in land remediation and services to attract substantial private sector investment in strategic projects and industries. The result will be to strengthen Toronto's, Ontario's and Canada's global competitiveness.
A key ingredient to strengthening our competitiveness lies in improving quality of life. We know that the most successful cities around the world are those with a vibrant, high quality of life, which allows them to attract the most successful people and the best companies. In fact, quality of life is the new imperative for cities in the 21st century.
Through the work of the corporation, our waterfront will be transformed into an international architectural, cultural, entertainment and recreational calling card, and most importantly, it will provide the people of Toronto, Ontario, and Canada with the great waterfront community they need, want and deserve.
The corporation's development plan and business strategy sets out a 30-year plan for waterfront revitalization. Over the course of the initiative, the corporation estimates that the governments as a whole will get back $3 for every $1 invested. This investment will create 194,000 person-years of employment during construction and 30,000 permanent new jobs.
The revitalization of Toronto's waterfront will add a number of amenities: cultural, entertainment and recreational facilities; at least 500 acres of new and improved parks; and live-work neighbourhoods. In turn, they will make the city a more desirable place to live and work and, by extension, conduct business. New world-scale cultural attractions could be located on the waterfront. Our plans envision a multicultural centre for the arts at the foot of Yonge Street and an internationally recognized exhibition and entertainment district at Exhibition Place and Ontario Place.
Important public policy objectives will be achieved through revitalization. Brownfield development on the waterfront will provide more than 40,000 new housing units, including affordable housing, to help accommodate projected GTA growth. We have proposed an $800-million investment in public transit, which we will promote as a primary mode of travel. Water quality will be improved, and the Don River will have a new mouth to the bay. Contaminated lands will be made safe. Public access to the lake will be improved. A revitalized waterfront will provide a national postcard showcasing Toronto as one of the most livable cities in the world.
We all agree on the imperative of revitalizing Toronto's waterfront. We now have the plan to move forward. Toronto can regain its lustre as a premier urban centre of international stature. Toronto's competitors have revitalized their waterfronts -- Boston, New York, Cleveland, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco -- and in doing so reaped economic and social benefits. We can succeed. And we can do it better.
Mr Prue: Mr Fung, I met you many times as a Toronto councillor and I admire very much what you're trying to do. But it comes back to the question again -- I don't believe you were here for the first deputant -- of public accountability. I think that needs to be built in. Although it was slightly in your remarks, could you just expand on what the corporation would need in order to be truly open and accessible to the public so the public can make sure that what goes there is in their best interests and perhaps not in the interests of governments or businesses or others?
Mr Fung: There are several things. Number one is, Bill 151 requires public meetings and public consultations. As I mentioned, there were 10 public consultation meetings during the month of November alone.
In addition to that, I can tell you that I receive at least three to four requests for meetings every day. I don't think any one person has not had a chance to see me or to see the corporation when they required it. The corporation makes itself available to speak to people as the public wants to come and talk to us. We continually interface with the press. We continually interface with the people. As I mentioned earlier, public consultation is very much a cornerstone of the waterfront's operation.
Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex): Thank you very much for your presentation. In your presentation, Mr Fung, you mention, "The corporation recognizes that accountability and transparency go hand in hand," and then you mention you've retained Charles Dubin with regard to giving you some independent advice. But I also understand that all the powers you were looking for were not incorporated into Bill 151.
How do you feel Bill 151, as it presently stands, will impact on your vision of the waterfront? Should we look at it later on? Should we do some revision? What's the impact as to the way and the manner the bill stands at the moment?
Mr Fung: I think the real issue is that we've got to get on as fast as we can with dealing with the Toronto waterfront. The longer we wait to deal with some of these issues, the farther we fall behind. I'm saying that this is not a Toronto issue. This is much more than a Toronto issue. This is a national issue; it's a provincial issue. We have to remain competitive.
The corporation is prepared to move ahead. As the bill sits, we can work with government. We will work with you to see what other amendments or tinkering we have to do with the bill, but we've got to get on with it. From the corporation's point of view, the bill, as it now sits, allows us to get moving and to try to make sure that we remain competitive.
Mr Monte Kwinter (York Centre): Mr Fung, I want to talk to you about this issue of public observation of meetings of this new board. I used to be the chairman of the Toronto Harbour Commission. I'm sure you probably know that. We always had availability for the public to come and sit at our meetings. They couldn't participate but they could certainly be there to observe; not only them, but the media. There was never a problem. There are obviously some sensitive issues that have to be done in camera when dealing with personnel or some legal matters but, other than that, people felt they had an opportunity to see what was going on and to know that there was transparency, that there was an ability to observe the process. After all, this is not a private corporation. This is a corporation that represents three levels of government and is funded by the taxpayers. I think there is no reason why they shouldn't be there.
Mr Fung: I understand that quite well. In fact, the first thing the corporation did when the corporation was put in place was to put in place very strong conflict-of-interest policies, very strong operational policies on how we handle these things.
If you look at city council or any other council, land issues are dealt with in camera. It would mean that 99.99% of the corporation's work would have to be dealt with in camera. Because in actual fact the dealings of the corporation are dealing with real estate issues. That's what the corporation was put in place to do. That's what the corporation's business is, and those require dealings in private.
The transparency and accountability issues are dealt with through the policies which the corporation has put in place. They are dealt with through the putting in place of Justice Charles Dubin to oversee and talk to us about these issues. The corporation has a board of directors which is appointed by the governments. The governments have the ability to hold the corporation accountable. The public has the ability to hold the corporation accountable.
Mr Robert Fung and the board of the corporation have lost all credibility on all waterfront development issues. On Tuesday, November 26, he released a letter of support for the expansion of the Toronto Island airport and the building of a bridge. He concluded that the expansion of the airport to handle 600,000 to 900,000 passengers a year would not wreck the $17-billion waterfront revitalization plan. His conclusions were based on reports paid for by the Toronto Port Authority. Mr Fung's conclusions are suspect, being based on port authority documents.
Toronto city planners have stated passenger levels that are over 600,000 per year would have a severe impact on land use and would turn the promised residential development back to port industrial development. This is a quote from their report:
"Enhancement to 650,000 passengers per year" -- that's in the Sypher:Mueller report -- "could have a much broader effect on the central waterfront as a whole. It is likely to impact the type of land uses attracted to the area and may result in more industrial or warehouse-type development and less residential development in the port lands.
"Further enhancement to 900,000 passengers per year" -- in the REGCO request -- "could affect the larger objectives of the central waterfront plan. The expansion could impact the quality of people's enjoyment in the proposed network of new waterfront parks and public spaces. The higher level of environmental standards envisioned for the central waterfront could be undermined, as could the balance of compatible waterfront uses."
An expanded airport would be a betrayal of the promise of waterfront redevelopment. The Toronto Port Authority's plans are in direct conflict with the revitalization of the Toronto waterfront. There is also a conflict of interest of several members of the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp. Murray Chusid, who is a director, is a former director of the Toronto Port Authority; Tony Dionisio, who is a director, is the current business manager of Universal Workers Union, Local 183. This local is one of the most active proponents of the island airport expansion. James Ginou, a director of the Waterfront Revitalization Corporation, is also a director of the Toronto Port Authority.
On November 12, there was a meeting between the Waterfront Revitalization Corporation and representatives of 50,000 waterfront residents and 17,000 boaters, as well as Toronto's environmental and arts communities. The representatives made it clear to Mr Fung that if airport expansion is approved, they want the revitalization project to be terminated. I reiterate that position.
Mr Lipton: No. I would dearly like to see the revitalization corporation carry on its objectives. But with the present developments that are going on at city hall as we sit here, the expansion of Toronto Island airport, there's no reason to spend taxpayers' money on this corporation. One is the antithesis of the other.
The developments in the port lands, as envisioned in Mr Fung's reports -- I went to the charrette, and I was really amazed by the quality of the presentations and the possibilities for those lands. They will be destroyed. I don't see the government of Ontario supporting this kind of development when, in the end, it won't happen. It has to be one development or the other; both can't carry on at the same time.
Mr Lipton: Absolutely. The waterfront in Toronto is the greatest undeveloped resource we have. I was in Venice a couple of years ago, and I came in contact with an organization called Cities on Water, Città d'Acqua, an international organization that coordinates information on waterfront redevelopments around the world, not only seaports but lake ports and river developments everywhere. I spent over $300 on the publications this organization puts out. I brought them home and showed them to several people here. I think we have an amazing potential here.
Mr Phillips: Can you recommend anything to us that would change this bill to a way you would find acceptable? I know your recommendation is to scrap it, but another suggestion would be -- can we fix it?
Mr Lipton: Well, Mr Fung has made his position clear. Whatever the conflict of interest rules are, I don't think they're strong enough; that's the first thing. Second, it's got to be an open, transparent process. Those are the things that are really important.
Mr Lipton: Also, I think there has to be some involvement by the people who are actually involved and living on the waterfront and in the waterfront. There has to be space for them to be active participants, not just observers, in the development of the waterfront.
Mr Phillips: So the three things you said are stronger conflict of interest -- I was going to ask Mr Fung whether anybody on this board did declare a conflict on that decision on the airport, but we only got one question -- a transparent public process and involvement by, to use the jargon, stakeholders. Are those the three things?
Mr Prue: I have to tell you that I was quite surprised by Mr Fung's pronouncement the other day. Did he consult with the island community or anyone before making that pronouncement, or was it just off the top of his head?
Mr Lipton: I wasn't at the meeting on November 12, but there is now a waterfront community association that encompasses the community associations from the Harbourfront community and Bathurst Quay, all the way over to Gooderham and Worts. All those community associations are coming together as a waterfront community association. There were representatives from most of those organizations, as well as boaters, and they put it very plainly to Mr Fung that they would not support the revitalization corporation if the revitalization corporation supported an expanded airport.
Mr Prue: It appears quite likely that passenger traffic, although it levelled off after September 11 last year, is now rebounding. Projections show that there will be increasing passenger traffic in and out of Toronto. If it doesn't go to the island, where would you suggest is the logical place? I'm asking this in all seriousness. Malton may not be able to accommodate it. I talked to Gerry Meinzer last week, and he's suggesting that there's a move afoot to rebuild Pickering. It's going to have to go somewhere, so would you as a group prefer that it be there? I'm sure somebody from Pickering is going to sit in that same place.
Mr Lipton: No, I wouldn't prefer that it go to Pickering. The type of traffic that is quoted to fly in and out of the Toronto Island airport is short-haul, 800 kilometres or less. That is the most polluting type of travel there is, more polluting than a single person in a vehicle. It's 70 times as polluting as train travel. In Europe and in the United States, fast train travel is the way people are going, and I think that is the real alternative to the Toronto Island airport: a revitalization of rapid rail.
I have nothing against Mr Fung, but right from the inception -- and I concur with Mr Kwinter over here -- with Bill 151, there's no accountability, period. Mr Fung loves to make beautiful speeches, presentations, but with no substance. He was quite aware right from the beginning -- he was forced by the provincial people, by the federal people, to hold three public meetings. What do we mean by "public meetings" when coming to that conclusion because the knife is at your throat? Two days: how are you going to get people out? Impossible. So a few people show up -- lip service. He offers the Golden Gate.
I have no problems with development. My primary objection and concern is development. I have been in Parkdale, in that area, before the Gardiner, since 1949-50. I've seen it up and I've seen it down. My business takes me throughout the world, and I see developments. We have a golden opportunity. It's beautiful. The former Premier, Mike Harris, emulated and he was prepared to beckon. I would not like to see in my lifetime the dispersal of that beautiful waterfront. Whatever happens east of Bathurst, the same thing should happen west of Bathurst. This belongs to the people, for the people, for the future, for my grandchildren.
I went to the CNE board of governors meetings. You had, from 15 people, 11 against and four for. We can never obtain information on what his intent is -- $7.5 billion here, $7.5 billion there. Why would I give someone $7.5 billion if I won't get some remuneration? We cannot squander for a few developers, and I'm one of them, to make a buck. I cannot see it.
Therefore, my reason for being here, and I appeal to you and to everybody: Bill 151 has to be reinforced; there has to be accountability. Never mind that you'll have a meeting. We have today one government, tomorrow another government. Things switch. The people have to be protected.
I would like to see a vision, if I live long enough, that the waterfront should be developed. We have the CNE, we have beautiful buildings. Toronto attracts tourism. Where do you take your children? There's nowhere to go. We have the Gardiner that serves the purpose, going east and west. I get tied up in the traffic for 45 minutes to an hour.
We started with the Gardiner at $3.5 million, $5 million -- now it costs $75 million. Ten years from today it's going to cost $200 million and we'll get stuck in the traffic. We have to have an objective, a plan. Redevelop the waterfront for the people. Don't rip it until you have a plan. It'll take 10 or 15 years -- a future, a plan. Protect it with accountability and the people will be grateful and my grandchildren will have somewhere to go. Right now, we don't know.
I promise you, Mr Fung gave me a handshake that he'll see me. I'm waiting for two and a half years. Mel Lastman was supposed to show up in the office -- he developed a cold. My member of Parliament was insulted. I have money. I don't have to be here. Money doesn't mean a thing. I'm bigger than everybody else.
No, Bill 151 accountability, whether he likes it or not, whether it's this member or another member, please have mercy on yourself and on behalf of the people, protect; don't create the same mess that we have east of Bathurst.
Mr Phillips: I'll kick it off. In the next few days we're going to have to deal with the piece of legislation. Do you have any specific recommendations for us on what you think should or should not be in the legislation?
Mr Fainer: The legislation should be very simple: accountability. Do not allow -- one site, I hear, 8,000 condominiums on the CNE, 12,000 condominiums. We have to have legislation to protect that vital piece of land for the future. North of the Gardiner, if one day it is ripped down, you don't have a chance -- if the CNE owns the land, CP -- I mean, it's got to be redeveloped. He has beautiful ideas. I have no problem with whatever he does with the marshlands, but I want to know: what are we going to do with that piece of land west of Bathurst up to Etobicoke? Protect it. Tunnel underneath it. What it will take -- five years, 10 years, 50 years. Right now you are spending $75 million to upkeep the Gardiner. Five years from today it'll cost you $125 million -- my money, your money and everybody who gets stuck in that traffic. I have ideas. Mr Fung is quite aware, but he's ignoring me and a number of us. We are willing to talk to him, to sit down and discuss it intelligently. I could go ahead and maybe I'll buy a piece of land, put something up and I'll make a nice dollar. I would like to see a 10-year hold.
The late John F. Kennedy passed a bill that the waterfront belongs to the people, by the people. Mike Harris was prepared, and Bob Runciman was happy about it. The present Premier is happy about it. He would like to see it. But everybody is hiding. We will develop it. How are we going to develop it? In the middle then they will commit us and we are stuck, like the Dome.
Mr Kwinter: I really appreciate your comments. I'm just circulating to members of this committee a letter that appeared on May 17, 1983, which is a long time ago, 20 years ago, in which I made exactly the points you're making. I think the waterfront is an incredible resource and it's got to be handled properly. That doesn't mean there's no development, but you're absolutely right: there's a concrete curtain that has knocked off the waterfront to a lot of people. I just want to commend you for your comments.
Mr Fainer: Thank you. But you have to have a vision, a plan. In legislation in Norway it's taboo, it's holy, cannot be touched. Never mind the OMB's going to overrule us. You are representatives of the people, for the people. You pass the legislation and this is law. Whether we develop it today or 10 years or 20 years from today, the rest proceed. You have the railroads. You know as well as I do that the CP and CN will make mincemeat out of us. I don't have a chance to hire the attorneys to fight them.
Mr Prue: I just want to be clear that I'm getting the gist. You are a businessman, but you seem to be speaking against large corporations and the amounts of money they potentially might make out of this, and you want safeguards. Is that a fair synopsis?
Mr Fainer: I make money and I pay my taxes, but as a way to live within justice; in other words, share the wealth. But the thing is, I'm not saying I'm going to go out and take a $100 bill and split it in four or five pieces. I have a tangible asset. What do I do with it? The asset is the most precious piece of land for future generations, period. Of course I like to make a dollar, but there's a limit somehow. The guy from Microsoft gives away beautiful billions of dollars to charity. We have a guy over there who gives to a different thing. This over here is holy, period. It's untouchable. I don't care whether it's Mr Chrétien, Ernie Eves or Mel Lastman.
We have to put our heads together. I just came back home from France and Italy. I see congested areas, and I go from my place down to the exhibition where I go in 10 or 15 minutes underground, lit up. We live in a climate -- albeit in the wintertime it snows, it rains. I get stuck. Sometimes it takes me, from my house -- I live in the York Mills and Don Mills area. It takes me 50 minutes to get out, sometimes an hour and 25 minutes. I burn more gas. So Mr Fung or somebody else is going to say, "How are we going to go ahead and spend the money? Where are we going to get the money?" I would be very happy to submit to you gentlemen -- some of you will like it; some wouldn't like it. I kicked it around with high-echelon politicians. That's feasible, very simple. If there's a will, there's a way to do it, but it's got to be done on behalf of the people, and the people need a place to go.
My grandchildren live in Florida right now. They come over here. Where do I take them over here? At one time, they had a vision for the CBC: they were going to put in a seaquarium. We have a waterfront. Why don't you put it there?
Mr Prue: At the risk, I'm going to ask it. Mr Fung and his group, the city of Toronto, various charrettes and hundreds of planners and people have given visions of the waterfront: everything from housing to exciting places to play to waterfront revitalization of the beach and the Don River Valley. Are you opposed to anything that was contained in that plan?
Mr Fainer: I want to protect -- and I'm making it very simple. I'm making it loud and clear. Right now, you have a situation. You have a development east of Bathurst. Do you like it? I don't. I have open land over here west of Bathurst, down to Etobicoke. It's open prey. I don't want to see condominiums blocking off that land, period.
Mr Sampson: I take it that you're frustrated you can't get that point across. So let me just ask you a couple of questions for a second. I take it from your title here, Mr Fainer, that you're president of a reasonably successful company.
Mr Fainer: I will be very happy to answer you. If you ask me or you ask my community, I am open, I help people and I'm available, whether it's 999, St Joseph's Hospital, the police department, the street people or the winos. I ask myself, why do I need it? I need it like a hole in my head. I treat my people humanely. I make sure that they make a wonderful living and they pay taxes, not collect welfare. I'm a human being. I came to this country with 10 bucks. I pay more money than any big corporation -- period. I'm accessible, whether it's 14 Division or 11 or 52. If they have a problem with a person, whether it's 12 o'clock, 11 o'clock, I'm available. I go down to a person on the street and I say, "I won't give you a bottle of booze, but I'll pay for your meal if you'll eat a steak or whatever you want. I'll pay for it."
Mr Fainer: I'll try to the best of my ability to answer. A public corporation has shareholders, and you know what happened in the last six or seven months with Enron and so forth. In a private corporation, you're accountable to yourself and to your employees. For a business to flourish -- if you come into my place, you could observe it. If you think you're fooling a customer, you're not fooling a customer, you are fooling yourself. I believe in making a legitimate profit, but I'm not too greedy. That's why without advertisement I produce more than The Bay or Wal-Mart per square foot. It's very simple: you treat people humanely, you are being reasonable, and it pays off.
Mr Beaubien: Thank you very much for your presentation this morning. You were in the audience when the previous presenter mentioned that the short-distance flight from the airport pollutes the air 70 times more than cars do. He talked about public transportation and the train. You keep referring to Europe, and I agree with you. I was in Lucerne in June of this year, and you're absolutely right: you can get on a train and go anywhere because they do have the love of the train. They embarked on public transportation 100 years ago.
In North America, we're still in love with the car, and the distance that we have to travel between point A and point B -- I live in southwestern Ontario. There's one train that leaves at 6 o'clock in the morning to come to Toronto and there's one train that comes back, in my community, at 10 o'clock at night. That is not good, reliable public transportation.
You talk about maintaining the waterfront open to the public. I agree with you, but you cannot just have it the way it is right now. So how did you combine the public transportation aspect, the pollution aspect that other people are talking about, the accountability aspect, in doing something with the waterfront that is economically viable, that would be embraced by the public at large? How would you do that?
Mr Fainer: Very simply. If you go now to Brussels or you go to Paris or you go to Milan, you see the congestion over there, the cars -- the same thing. But you have a choice. You have to have public transportation. David Collenette promised you're going to have the train from Union Station down to the airport. In the meantime, lip service. You have to have public transportation. You are not going to eliminate -- if you see today, on the Gardiner, 48,000 vehicles, in 10 years you're going to have 60,000. You're not going to eliminate that. I don't follow Mr Jack Layton's ideas that you're going to make Toronto closed, with cars parked outside -- you can't.
This is a vital city. You have to have one-way streets. I am not an engineer. First, you have to have public trains. You go up from Brussels to -- I forgot the name, a little town; I spent five days there only a month and a half ago. Then, from there, after one hour and five minutes, I was in Paris by train. It's costly. I paid 65 Euros per person. But you have to have public transportation. We should have a train to the airport. We should have never built a subway -- Mel Lastman with his brilliant ideas -- on Sheppard Avenue. Queen Street was, if you studied history, supposed to have a subway 50 years ago, 40 years ago. We built it on Bloor Street; no problem. Esther Shiner had a vision to go through with the Spadina Expressway; we stopped on Eglinton Avenue. She's gone, and the Don Valley is packed. Bob Rae started, Mike Harris finished it, and they chastised them. They built over, widened, the Don Valley going north. We need a highway to come down south.
We don't have a future vision. I'll just finish this in two seconds. This reminds me of a story. I once in my area wanted to develop a police department and we wanted it in a certain area. I did not succeed and the police were on Queen Street. We moved it down near Dundas, and Jim Clark came over to me and said, "Sheldon, we are not going to win. We are going to put up a 14 at the CNE. We're providing band-aid service." What do we have right now? We have a little mini-station over there, no police visibility on the street. The CNE, they get busy, they pull the division from 14 division and the whole community is in chaos.
The problem is we don't sit down and say to ourselves that in 20 years, never mind one, two, three -- we've got to develop it. There's no Olympics right now. They should have gone for the World's Fair instead of the Olympics; they would have succeeded.
The Chair: Our next presenter is city of Toronto, represented by Mayor Mel Lastman. Mr Lastman, please come forward. If you'd be kind enough, Mr Mayor, to state your name for the record from the beginning. There are 20 minutes. If there is any time left over from your presentation then we will ask questions of you, sir. Thank you, and welcome.
Mr Mel Lastman: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, and members of the committee. Thank you for this opportunity to speak. Sheldon offered free steaks -- I don't know where to go to get them -- and some guy, when I walked in, offered me an egg and he said, "Any time you have a problem just squeeze on it and you'll relax." So I'm squeezing on it.
I am accompanied today by the chair of the Toronto Waterfront Reference Group, Councillor Joe Pantalone, and Paula Dill, commissioner of urban development, and the chief of staff for my office, Alan Slobodsky.
Mr Chairman, the city hasn't actually seen the amendment packages that we hope you're going to introduce. I hope there will be no surprises above that, but we have been told what the revised legislation will contain. However, I am speaking to those revisions in good faith.
Councillor Pantalone and I are here to lend the support of the city of Toronto to the adoption of Bill 151 and the creation of a permanent Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp. I know a lot of people have been talking about this for years, but now it's happening because we have all three levels of government working together, and when we get three levels of government working together we can really make things happen. I hope we're all here to make sure that happens here at this meeting. Since the introduction of Bill 151 last December, all three levels of government have been working together to ensure the legislation reflects their respective interests and concerns.
The legislation before you, together with the amendment package, achieves that and demonstrates once again that when all three levels of government work together, I will repeat, we can make the most wonderful things in the world happen. This waterfront will be a 46-kilometre waterfront. It'll be a meeting place for the world. I have seen waterfronts, as I'm sure many of you have, and they're nothing compared to what we are talking about.
The revitalization of Toronto's waterfront is crucial for the future of our city, our province and our nation, and we can't allow Canada to fall behind the rest of the world. First, I want to highlight changes which are vital to the city of Toronto. We strongly endorse an amendment to the legislation which recognizes the city's planning authority in the central waterfront. This makes it clear that the revitalization corporation will be guided by the city of Toronto's official plan and central waterfront secondary plan. It also reinforces the commitment that all three governments made at the beginning of this process to retain our respective policy powers.
Third, the revised legislation ought to contain a requirement that the corporation's annual business plan be approved by all three governments. Given the importance of the business plan in setting out the corporation's prospective expenditures and revenues, government approval is most certainly desirable and financially prudent.
A fourth area of equal importance is the definition of the designated waterfront area, either in the legislation itself or through provincial regulation. It is of the utmost importance that while the focus of the corporation's activities be in the central waterfront, there also be the opportunity for the corporation to undertake select strategic projects along the 46-kilometre Toronto waterfront. These projects are expected to be few in number and will be clearly defined. They will be selected on the basis of their ability to complement revitalization efforts in the central waterfront area.
A final amendment to the legislation which I urge your committee to endorse is the provision for a review of the legislation once it has been in effect for one year. Given that we are navigating new waters, it is prudent that we reserve the opportunity to revisit the legislation and fine-tune it, if necessary.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention one final concern. The legislation does not require the corporation's board to conduct its regular business meetings in an open manner. While we appreciate that many of the matters the board will be dealing with concern real estate and are therefore sensitive, this has to be balanced with the public's desire for transparency and accountability. Hopefully, the necessary transparency will be achieved through public consultation and the annual release of the corporation's business plan.
The passage of Bill 151 to provide for the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation Act, Mr Chairman, signals another critical milestone in turning out waterfront vision into reality. All three governments have demonstrated their unwavering support for this initiative. Now we have to give the corporation the means to achieve success.
The legislation, with the necessary amendments, will provide a balance between the needs of the corporation to do the job we're mandating them to do while making sure that the government partners are accountable as the project unfolds.
I'm here as chair of the city of Toronto's Waterfront Reference Group, which is the committee set up by Toronto city council to act as the coordinating body for all the waterfront revitalization initiatives within the city of Toronto. It's our job to ensure that all the various agencies, boards, commissions and departments speak with one voice in a way to help the process as opposed to hindering it.
The members of city council have taken a very active interest in ensuring that the legislation reflects the wishes of the Toronto community and the community's expectations. As the mayor mentioned, to a large degree, the city is pleased with the amendments which have resulted from the government partners' review of the original legislation. Just to reinforce what the mayor has indicated, we are appearing here in good faith without having had the opportunity to review the amendment package which is going to be tabled before you but which we gather is prepared.
We've been assured that everything we understood to be in the amendment package will be before you. Good faith, let me remind all of us, is what all the government partners will have to continue to display as we embark on this ambitious, complex process which will ultimately be a rewarding initiative for Toronto, Ontario and Canada.
There are two significant concerns, which I think the mayor touched upon, with the proposed legislation that Toronto city council has directed us to bring to your attention. I should tell you that these concerns were before council yesterday and received unanimous approval as it will be relayed to you. So it's a unanimous position of council regardless of political or other orientation.
The first concern is that the proposed legislation does not require that meetings of the board of directors of the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp be open to the public. The city's position is that the corporation should be governed by the same rules regarding open meetings as apply to all municipalities across Ontario as well as the various agencies, boards and commissions of those municipalities.
There is a vast level of public interest, as you know, in what happens in Toronto's waterfront, which affects all of us. The corporation will be making decisions that have a tremendous impact on the future of Toronto as Canada's largest city, Toronto as the capital of Ontario and, indeed, Toronto as a city in its own right. Therefore the public should be permitted to attend meetings of the board of directors.
Of course, certain discussions relating to property acquisitions, business negotiations, real estate and personnel would be very sensitive. However, this is not something which is unique to this corporation or anybody else. Municipalities and the various boards deal with that all the time, while at the same time achieving open meetings. In these circumstances, the Municipal Act allows these types of matters to be dealt with in camera, as they should be.
We have various agencies in Toronto, such as Exhibition Place, which has built a $180-million trade centre; the Toronto Transit Commission, which awards contracts in the multi-millions of dollars; and the police services board, which obviously deals with sensitive issues. These are governed by the Municipal Act in such matters and still are able to provide open meetings. We feel that the same rules should apply to the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp. Indeed, I would suggest that the degree of public interest in the activities of the corporation is such that it's demanded, if you will, by the general public.
The second issue which council wants to point out is conflict of interest. Council's position going into the discussions with the government partners at the provincial and federal levels was that the members of the corporation should be subject to the same conflict-of-interest legislation as applies to elected officials and local board members. It is vitally important, as all who are in public know, that the board of directors not only conduct themselves but also be seen to conduct themselves with the utmost degree of integrity.
The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, which we suggest is the one that should apply, as opposed to the Ontario Business Corporations Act, that has been suggested, is more stringent in such matters. For example, the definition of an interest that could arise as a conflict of interest is somewhat broader. Second, the ability of an interested member to discuss the matter, even on an informal business, is more restricted. Third, whenever the matter is discussed in camera, the interested member, under the municipal conflict-of-interest legislation, has to leave; they cannot be present. Fourth and most important, the possible consequences for a member who contravenes the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act are significantly more onerous than those under the Ontario Business Corporations Act.
Nobody is suggesting that anybody will do anything wrong. But as we all know, justice must not only be done but has to be seen to be done. We suggest that the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act does that better.
As I indicated, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act already applies well to all municipalities in the province and their local boards. It seems to be working very well. Given the tremendous civic importance of the activities of the waterfront corporation, that will give extra confidence to the general public and everybody involved.
In conclusion, I think all three governments have had to bend a little as we move the legislation forward, and the legislation has to be moved forward, and the city has been very active in the process, under the leadership of the mayor. The government partners have demonstrated a strong commitment to having this historic initiative proceed and not be delayed. We think it's extremely important that it be approved as soon as soon as possible. We hope you will look at our two remaining concerns, other than those concerns which we believe have been addressed in the amendments, which we haven't seen but are told are satisfactory, so that the public's confidence and trust in the revitalization initiative is maintained and enhanced.
I commend the city of Toronto on the positions you've taken on the requirement for public access to meetings and also on municipal conflict of interest, because it is a very powerful tool. However, one of the previous speakers from the Toronto Board of Trade felt it was not advisable and has advised the committee not to give that kind of public access. As she put it, the mess Toronto has found itself in is from being too open and too public. I didn't share that view, but I wonder if you might comment on whether you're aware of Toronto Board of Trade position and why your route would be preferable.
An example I'm very familiar with is Exhibition Place. In 1997 we completed the $180-million National Trade Centre facility under the Ontario infrastructure works program. It was extremely well received by the business community, the heritage community and just by people who love the building, and it functions well. That's one example where we were guided by checks and balances, a board having to go every three months to the general public in public meetings, as the board meetings were, and hear representations. Its powers were not absolute like, I guess, the board of trade is suggesting is essential, and yet we delivered a product that was on schedule, on budget and that received accolades from everybody.
We like to suggest that the fact we had to go to the community and hear what people had to say -- that our meetings were public, and we did not have absolute power -- led to information filtering out, which led to better information filtering in, which led to this product. There were a lot of fears about it. It was a mega-project in a very sensitive area, Exhibition Place, the home of the CNE, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and so forth. That led to a better product.
Their fears are, in our opinion, not well founded, even though we understand what they're saying. By the way, the waterfront reference group has been very helpful in the sense of moving things along. There have been absolutely no delays to date, and we don't expect any.
Mr Beaubien: Thank you very much for your presentation. I agree with you when you mention that the three levels of government have worked together, but I also think the three levels of government are working together with regard to the amendments to Bill 151. To say you may not be aware of them -- I think there is some communication between the three levels of government.
It's nice to talk about accountability and transparency in the type of developments we want to see on the waterfront. My question to you is, how is this proposed development going to fit with your present official plan for the city of Toronto?
It fits perfectly. As a matter of fact, the central waterfront secondary plan, in its revised form, which is going to city council on its February 4 meeting, has the complete support of the waterfront corporation as well as the city's planning department. As a matter of fact, it was changed so the two sides were completely happy with it. It fits perfectly.
Mr Phillips: This will be passed literally a year to the day it was introduced. It was introduced December 11 last year and it will be passed. At the time it was introduced, we expressed the two concerns you've expressed, that is, that this was done behind closed doors in private meetings, and the conflict of interest. Mr Fung today indicated that the commission's not particularly interested in the meetings being public.
My question to you is this: if we're unable to get the amendments passed that would make the meetings public and we're unable to get the changes in the conflict of interest, do you think we should still pass the bill?
Mr Pantalone: In our opinion, the amendments we're suggesting will ensure that the waterfront corporation and the waterfront revitalization will not only achieve success but will be seen to achieve success. In our opinion, for the waterfront to go ahead, the legislation has to be passed, but we would hope that we achieve 100% of what we're trying to achieve rather than two thirds that we wish to --
The Chair: Actually, the clerk will take it from you, sir. I'm going to ask you to go ahead, because we're running into a time constraint here. I'm also warning Mr Shipway that if the bells ring in the Legislature, we will be suspending the committee; however, once that vote takes place, we will be in a position to return to hear the completion of your presentation.
The Chair: I would ask you to go ahead. If the technician gets it fixed, fine. Otherwise, you'll have to go with what you have, sir. Please state your name from the beginning so Hansard is clear who's speaking.
Mr Shipway: My name is Dalton Shipway. I was born in Toronto. My family has been in the east end for about six generations. My mom grew up on Degrassi Street, the same street that Charles Sauriol lived on, the patron saint of the Don.
I've been working on the Don River for 18 years with no pay. I'm the fellow who started the Task Force to Bring Back the Don. When we started, there were four watershed groups. Now there are 29. The raison d'être for this is that around the world there are five major problems affecting the biosphere and the ecosystem: forestry, ocean fisheries, loss of biodiversity, agriculture and cities. If you think of cities, it's helpful to think of urban drainage or the watersheds that cities occupy. If you think globally and act locally, it's good to focus on a local issue and get some action because that sets up a ripple effect. Of all the water on the planet, only 3% is fresh, and of that, 90% is locked up in the ice caps. There is relatively little available fresh water, so urban rivers are an extremely important issue. They must remain whole ecosystems, biologically and environmentally. They cannot be severed.
I've come today in support of Bill 151. However, I would like the city to exempt green wildlife corridors, present and potential areas of ecological significance, and open space. I'll pass these around for the record.
This is a press conference I had in 1987 at the Keating Channel, which is the most degraded part of the most degraded river in Canada. Now there's all this excitement about a renewed marsh at the mouth of the river; indeed, it's one of the four start-up projects for waterfront revitalization. My concern is that the waterfront corporation is not the body to do the planning for ecosystem revitalization. The city is the body. I think jurisdiction should be clearly in the city's hands. I have a lot of confidence that we will do the most progressive ecosystem planning possible.
This is a shot from an airplane looking north through the centre of the port lands. You'll see the Bloor Viaduct up in the background. The river comes down just under the elevated Gardiner there and makes a sharp right-angle turn, totally concrete, into the Toronto Bay. That body in the middle is the ship channel, and then this is where the small boat clubs are down at Cherry Beach and Clark Beach.
For discussion purposes, this shows a wildlife corridor and an aquatic link from the Keating Channel down to the lake. It's a computer-enhanced image. I found it very useful, and I've shown it to city council and David Crombie and other people. They say, "Wow. That helps explain what you're getting at, rather than a lot of words." It's not perfect. A flood engineer will say, "There's a problem with that," or the botanists and biologists will say, "There's a problem with that." But it stimulates a lot of discussion. This is almost an antique now; it's six or seven years old.
So I'm asking that you support Bill 151. By the way, I support what Joe Pantalone and the mayor said about open public meetings. I think the public is now a participant in a triangle, with citizens at one apex, the politicians at another, and the bureaucracy or staff at the other. It makes for a better result, particularly with the environment, if the community is involved.
I would say that green and wildlife corridors need sophisticated attention, and the city is the one to do that. I don't know if "exempt" is the proper word, but I would like to exempt green and wildlife corridors, present and potential areas of ecological significance, and open space from Bill 151.
Mr Sampson: Thank you for your presentation. It seems to me that what you're suggesting, not that I'm any expert on municipal stuff, all goes through the discussion and the creation of an official plan.
Mr Shipway: Well, what I've passed around with the article 1 and 1(a) is the secondary plan. We've got the official plan, and now we're getting down to some details. The secondary plan for the central waterfront mentions prominently this Don greenway through the port lands. It's just one of a whole bunch of green corridors that are required right across the whole waterfront. I would mention that Garrison Creek, Taddle Creek and the other rivers need to be biologically connected from the Oak Ridges moraine down. The vision is to see a deer come down from the Oak Ridges moraine to Cherry Beach and have a drink of water and maybe go out to the Leslie Spit. There's wildlife going through there now. The coyotes have moved through and they're denning out on the spit, and there are all the other critters still down there.
But if we're really visionary, I think we will provide for a wide enough functioning ecological corridor through this area particularly; that's the missing link. The system's almost dead. We've had attempts to have big-box retail outlets plopped right in the middle of that, and the community said, "We don't agree with that." There was another one over at Cherry Beach and Lakeshore. It finally went to the OMB, and surprisingly the OMB said, "That's not an appropriate land use on the water's edge, what with all the waterfront revitalization."
Mr Shipway: If that's the phrasing you want to use. I have a lot of confidence in some of the staff at the city to be able to implement ecological planning methods. I don't want anything to preclude the green linkage from the valley down to the lake. I don't want some other planning exercise to put a big-box retail outlet right in the middle of it with an 1,800-car parking lot or something.
For our party, this is going to boil down to two remaining issues. One is whether these meetings are open to the public or not, and the strength of the conflict-of-interest guidelines. I think there's broad support for proceeding with the waterfront. If, in the end, the bill does not require public meetings for the waterfront group, would you still be in favour of the Legislature passing the legislation?
Mr Shipway: I would not be in favour of that. I don't want to disagree with Joe Pantalone and the mayor, but I did some research through Councillor Walker's office and the real estate department of the city of Toronto, and over 80% of that land down there is publicly owned land. When the mayor initiated this tripartite agreement, there wasn't one dollar from the city put into the pot; it was public land. I don't think the waterfront corporation should have all that land at zero cost, because the public has a lot of interest in passive recreation and wildlife and parks and all those other things. I think the real visionary stuff is coming from the community, about a green water's edge and ecological corridors and so on. So I would be reluctant to turn all that public land over without some kind of controls, and one of the controls is public involvement to keep an eye on what's going on.
Mr Prue: Mr Shipway, I thank you for your thoughts. To tell you the honest truth, although I was with the city of Toronto as a councillor before coming here, I had never really given much thought to who would operate the green space. I have to tell you, I took it as a given from the beginning -- and maybe I'm mistaken -- that the public lands portion and the parks and green space would be run by the city or by something akin to a conservation authority.
Mr Prue: No, and I thank you, therefore, for your comments because I think that it needs to be made clear somewhere in the record. I would have to put that it would be illogical that if a mixture of public and private corporations are going to be managing the waterfront, the private corporations would manage those sections which are for the public. It just seems illogical, and I hope nobody is planning that. I don't know whether it needs to be in the legislation but it surely needs to be stated on the record. I promise you, when this comes back, I will speak to that in the House and make sure that is put on the record, because it's illogical that it be done any other way.
Mr Shipway: I have to trust that there's some guarantee that green and wildlife corridors, open space and areas of ecological significance will be protected and not paved over or with buildings put on top. I'm not sure, when I walk out of this door, how much assurance I have that that will not happen.
The Chair: Well, your input to the committee, sir, is taken into consideration by the committee as it moves forward in its clause-by-clause deliberations, and any ideas are brought forward to the committee for the purposes of amendments to the bill.
The Chair: OK. While we're doing that, I'm going to ask if each of the parties, after the vote, would have their subcommittee member come back here for a couple of minutes for a few items that we have to address. All we need is about five minutes or so.
(2) That the staff from the Ministry of Finance be invited to appear before the committee on Monday, January 27, 2003, from 10 am to 12 noon to make a presentation and answer questions from the three parties.
(3) That the Chair should forward to the three House leaders, as soon as possible, the committee's request to meet during the upcoming recess. Specifically, the committee would like to meet from January 27 to January 30, 2003, and from February 3 to February 6, 2003, and on February 20, 2003, for report writing.
(6) That an advertisement will be placed for one day in a major paper of each of the cities to which the committee intends to travel. Advertisements will be placed in both English and French papers, if possible. An advertisement will also be placed on the Ontario parliamentary channel and on the Internet.
(7) That each party will provide the clerk with a prioritized list of four expert witnesses by 5 pm, Thursday, January 9, 2003. The clerk will attempt to schedule the two highest-priority witnesses from each list.
(10) That the prioritized lists shall be provided to the clerk by the three parties by 12 noon on Monday, January 20, 2003, and that the clerk shall be authorized to schedule witnesses from these lists. Each party is entitled to select the same number of witnesses.