Help Save the Fort York Bridge
May 12, 2011
The Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge is currently under threat. On Tuesday April 26, the Public Works Committee voted to investigate other options for the bridge, a decision that could effectively kill the project.
I need your help to keep this important piece of waterfront infrastructure alive.
This bridge has been 30 years in the making and has already cost the city 1.3 million in planning and design costs. It is an innovative design that has received a great deal of media attention and is applauded by the urban design, cultural and economic development communities, as well as by developers who are currently invested in the area.
More importantly, the bridge is a crucial piece of waterfront infrastructure that seeks to link hundreds of thousands of people north and south of the rail lands to each other, to the waterfront, and to major attractions like the CNE and Ontario Place. It is also a vital component of the overall plan to revitalize Fort York by making the site more accessible, dynamic, and visually compelling.
The building of this bridge is extremely time sensitive: the construction becomes more complicated and more costly if it follows rather than precedes the construction of the Metrolinx Air Rail Link. Secondly the bridge has been scheduled for some time to be completed in advance of the bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812, as a cornerstone of the revitalization of the Fort, along with the proposed Visitor's Centre, in which the City is also invested.
The project is funded by Waterfront Revitalization Project Budget. The Waterfront Project is funded by three orders of government. The city receives two dollars for every one dollar it spends on waterfront revitalization. A revised estimate for the bridge has come in 4 million dollars over the originally budgeted amount. Local developers, however, assure they will financially support the building of this bridge. Ultimately, the money can be found if the political will for this project can be re-established. Conversely it is difficult to imagine this bridge ever being built if the current momentum is lost and existing approvals are allowed to expire.
The Mayor is interested in looking at more affordable options. While this may seem reasonable, major modifications to the design will effectively delay the bridge for about four years, as the necessary approvals, bids and tenders will have to be sought all over again (EA, bids for architectural work, new drawings, new bid process for construction, etc).
This is where you come in. Please email the following councilors who need to be convinced that this project is worth supporting. (If you don't have email, please phone them). Please write to the Councillors below and ask them to vote to approve the construction contract for the bridge at the upcoming Council meeting May 17 and 18 2011. Please copy the City Clerk on all written messages so that your message is seen by all Councillors for the upcoming meeting. Her address is email@example.com.
Please circulate to your friends, neighbours and anyone you know who believes this is a project worth saving.
I will send an update after Council votes on the matter.
Yours in community.