Extensive planning was undertaken before any development could occur in East Bayfront.
While early planning efforts for East Bayfront can be tracked back to the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Taskforce (2000) and the City of Toronto’s Central Waterfront Secondary Plan (2001) planning began in earnest in 2003. At that time, Waterfront Toronto began two key initiatives – the precinct planning process and Class Environmental Assessment Master Plan for East Bayfront. The East Bayfront Precinct Planning process looked at the design of public and neighbourhood spaces for the area and the Class EA Master Plan addressed water, sanitary servicing, stormwater, a utility corridor, and transportation alternatives.
Once the East Bayfront Precinct Plan was finalized in November 2005 and the Class EA Master Plan in February 2006, work could begin on amending the zoning by-law which up until that time had designated the area for industrial use. The new Zoning By-Law for East Bayfront was approved in September 2006 and is consistent with the principles outlined in the Precinct Plan.
As part of the planning approvals process, Waterfront Toronto is also required to submit a Plan of Subdivision for large developments within East Bayfront.
Plans of subdivision are used to divide larger parcels of lands into development blocks, streets and parks. The Plan of Subdivision and accompanying agreement regulates the orderly development of land in accordance with the appropriate municipal regulations and standards for new municipal infrastructure (i.e., water, stormwater and sewer servicing and new roads), parks, school sites if necessary, utilities, road layout and design, and construction.
The first phase Plan of Subdivision for the southwestern part of East Bayfront, known as Dockside, was registered in early 2010.
The development of the East Bayfront Precinct Plan and the Class EA Master Plan was a collaborative effort with the City of Toronto (and its agencies), community stakeholder groups, the general public, private landowners and the
school boards. During the process, the team presented information and designs and sought feedback at many stakeholder and public meetings. Input from all groups was instrumental throughout the process and ensured that the plan evolved and changed in ways that best support waterfront revitalization.
Precinct planning is about developing a sense of place for a community. It leads to the development of a vision for parks and public space and an understanding of what private development should look like in an area. It also examines how an area will be used, how the buildings will be arranged and how transit, housing and community facilities will be provided.
The East Bayfront Precinct Plan illustrates the comprehensive vision for the design and development of the community. Locations for streets, public open space and built form guidelines are also identified in the plan.
The plan has received several prestigious awards including one from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects.
Waterfront Toronto established draft Urban Design Guidelines for East Bayfront in 2007. These draft guidelines illustrate and elaborate on the design principles for the area and are a companion to the Precinct Plan. While not mandatory, the guidelines offer guidance to developers, designers and reviewers to ensure that any development in the area contributes to its long term sustainability and the vitality, attractiveness and comfort of the public realm. The guidelines are for built form, privately-maintained open space and the relationship of private development to adjacent public realm such as parks, open spaces and streets. Planning and design work within the public realm will be completed by Waterfront Toronto.