(TORONTO) – The president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) applauded the provincial government’s announcement today that the revitalization of Ontario Place will focus squarely on making Toronto’s waterfront destination a public space.
“The public has spoken and, thankfully, the provincial government has listened,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “Our worst fears will not be realized; namely, that Ontario Place was destined to become a forest of condominiums and hotels and even a casino.”
In today’s announcement, the Ministry of Tourism laid out plans to redevelop the site to include expanded green space, an area for cultural festivals and community events, a year-round music venue, a canal district, and a hub for discovery and innovation that will focus on learning and the future.
In the winter of 2012-2013, OPSEU along with the Design Industry Advisory Committee and the U of T’s Martin Prosperity Institute hosted several public meetings and town halls that attracted some of Toronto’s leading design architects, urban landscape professionals and environmental graphic artists. The group produced exciting ideas, many of which were contained in today’s announcement.
“OPSEU and our partners in the revitalization movement can take considerable pride in the fact that several key components of the Minister’s announcement were, in fact, first proposed at our public consultations,” said Thomas. “Our position all along has been Ontario Place is, foremost, a public space and must remain that way.”
Thomas expressed regret that today’s announcement did not contain any job-creation targets.
“Ontario Place was once a hub of seasonal jobs for hundreds of young people,” he said. “We will push the government to ensure that Ontario Place again becomes be a job magnet.”
Warren (Smokey) Thomas