The Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto created Waterfront Toronto in 2001 to oversee and lead the renewal of Toronto’s waterfront. The key drivers of the waterfront revitalization are reconnecting people with the waterfront, design excellence, sustainable development, economic development and fiscal sustainability.
Waterfront Toronto is a corporation funded by three levels of government. These government bodies have provided seed capital for a 25-year mandate to transform 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of brownfield lands on Toronto’s waterfront into beautiful, accessible, sustainable mixed-use communities and dynamic public spaces. A strong, expert and engaged 12-member Board of Directors, appointed by the three levels of government, oversees the strategic direction.
There are however weaknesses in the Corporation’s governance model which significantly impact Waterfront Toronto’s ability to deliver results. This is especially the case
now that the corporation has moved from planning to development implementation and the active engagement of the private sector. Most problematic is the fact that the corporation is funded on a single project by project basis. Further, Waterfront Toronto has no powers to borrow, mortgage or raise funds, enter joint ventures or create subsidiaries. The current governance and funding structure limits the corporation’s ability to act nimbly, strategically and deliver its mandate on a timely and efficient basis.
Several outside experts have confirmed that an organization with the scope and scale of mandate such as Waterfront Toronto’s requires the planning, financial tools and authorities to enable successful revitalization.
Operational governance is under discussion with governments and Waterfront Toronto has received their agreement in principle to move towards enhanced operational tools. We pursue those discussions with a view to securing the required authorities by the end of this fiscal year.