37th Parliament, 3rd Session



Monday 30 September 2002 Lundi 30 septembre 2002



Monday 30 September 2002 Lundi 30 septembre 2002

The House met at 1845.



Resuming the debate adjourned on September 25, 2002, on the motion for second reading of Bill 151, An Act respecting the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation / Projet de loi 151, Loi concernant la Société de revitalisation du secteur riverain de Toronto.

The Deputy Speaker (Mr David Christopherson): It's my understanding there are a few minutes left on the clock, but that that time will be waived. Therefore, the floor now goes in rotation over to the government side and the Chair recognizes the member for Malton-Gore -- I blew it, didn't I? -- Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale. My apologies. Please proceed with your speech.

Mr Raminder Gill (Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale): Thank you. You're quite right; I know it's a long riding name. I'm very pleased to be representing the riding, though, so I thank you for allowing me this opportunity this evening. As people watching at home will realize, this is the late sitting, from 6:45 onwards till 9 o'clock. I hope I get all the time to speak till 9, but I may not, because I think other members might want to share the time.

This evening, for the people watching at home, we're speaking on Bill 151, which is the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation Act, 2002, and I rise in the House today to voice my support for this bill. This proposed legislation would create a permanent Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp or, in short -- it's a cumbersome name anyway -- the TWRC.

The permanent corporation is designed to replace the interim corporation that has been in place since last November. The TWRC would have significant responsibilities for developing and revitalizing much of the undeveloped land along Toronto's central waterfront.

As members know, this is an area of the city that has been neglected for many years and everyone agrees it is long overdue for investment. As I travel throughout Canada and North America, if I'm lucky enough, I always have comparisons with cities like Vancouver, Boston and Chicago. They've done wonderful things for their waterfronts. I'm hoping that, through this bill and through the commitment the provincial government has made for the waterfront, we will also have not only in name but in actual reality a world-class city where we can attract the much-needed tourism for our industries here.

The fact is, revitalizing Toronto's waterfront is of tremendous importance both to the future of the city and to the future success of our provincial and national economies. From this perspective, the establishment of a permanent waterfront corporation to oversee this major development and redevelopment project is of vital importance.

As members of this Legislature know, the city of Toronto and the greater Toronto area have long been engines of growth for Ontario's economy and indeed the economy of Canada. Both the city and its surrounding regions are expected to experience further significant growth during the next 25 years.

Certainly my riding, Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale, is growing very well. We are welcoming all the new residents, as many as 15,000 residents a year. Along with growth, there are always some infrastructure-type concerns, problems in terms of congestion on the roads, but I'm pleased to say that this government is acknowledging those and addressing those, as we should be addressing those.

I was quite intrigued reading an article recently in one of the latest issues of Maclean's magazine where they chose an example -- not an example but a story where someone had moved away from Vancouver into Kelowna, wanting to get a better, easier and quieter life, but then they were missing the sounds of the traffic. They compared the traffic with making deals and with life in the community, so they were quite happy to come back to the city. So it's a nice thing to have traffic. I don't think we want to go back to the days of the 10 lost years when there was nobody travelling and everybody was sitting at home and not working.


We need to meet the many challenges this growth will bring by planning and making new investments in infrastructure and other vital facilities. We need to coordinate those investments effectively, because they will come from many partners, including the private sector.

A permanent Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp, TWRC as I said before, would act both as a catalyst and a conduit for investments in Toronto's waterfront. It would also present the significant and varied interests of the city of Toronto, the Ontario government and the government of Canada. It would enter into innovative partnerships with private sector organizations to transform a forgotten part of the city into commercial and residential communities, parks and green spaces.

Today, as you know, there was a throne speech from the federal government. One of the OMNI channels asked me to comment on that just about 40 minutes ago. I said it had great rhetoric, all kinds of wonderful promises made. But as we know, in the past when they had the federal Red Book -- I'm sure you remember -- they were going to scrap the GST and they made all these promises. Then they came back and said, "Do you know what? Maybe we'll increase the GST to 10%." So you don't know how much you want to believe the throne speech.

Nonetheless they made some effort to say, "We want to work with the provinces, and we want to perhaps increase health care funding," and it's long overdue. As you know, in the 1960s as medicare came in, it used to be a 50-50 partnership. Then in 1993, or around that time, the federal share was dropped to 18 cents from 50 cents. Currently they're funding 14 cents on the dollar. I'm hoping they won't break their promises in this throne speech and will start funding health care, hopefully from 14 cents to 18 cents and onward at some point in time to 50 cents on the dollar. They do have the money, as we know. They have a surplus sitting there, and we hope they will recognize the needs not only of Ontarians, even though I am speaking for Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale, Ontario. More money should be coming for all Canadians. So I'm hoping, even though I know we are all going to be disappointed, because they make all of these promises but they never deliver.

The permanent TWRC, as I said, would develop specific plans and seek willing partners to undertake the massive redevelopment work that's needed along the lakeshore. It would do it under the leadership of Robert Fung, whom I've had the honour and privilege of meeting, whose vision of the waterfront's tremendous potential has fired people's imaginations and raised expectations for the future of this area.

As members will know, the city, the province and the federal government have formed a unique partnership with a view to renewing the waterfront, long overdue. Each level of government has committed $500 million, for a total public investment of $1.5 billion, to kick-start the revitalization process.

It is perhaps interesting to note that many of the members opposite have talked about this government's so-called neglect of the city of Toronto. They have complained about municipal amalgamation, about local service realignment, about cutting red tape and about initiatives to reduce the size and cost of government. They've also alleged that we don't care about Toronto, and that we have not been investing enough in its future. In this regard it may interest members to know that two of the most prestigious accrediting firms, Moody's Investor's Services of New York and Standard and Poors, have recently acknowledged the benefits of our government's initiatives for Ontario's municipalities, particularly Toronto.

Last week, Moody's Investor's Services announced that it had raised its debt rating for the city of Toronto from AA to AA1. Here's a quote from the press release issued by the company on September 26:

"The upgrade reflects the city's strong fiscal performance in the face of many organizational and financial challenges in recent years, combined with an increased provincial presence in funding municipal infrastructure projects."

Moody's goes on to note that Toronto has successfully managed the challenges associated with amalgamation and local services realignment, while maintaining fiscal discipline. The company also points out that the local economy which expanded very rapidly during the late 1990s continues to be resilient despite a more general economic slowdown elsewhere.

The Moody's news release is very specific about the provincial government's role in helping Toronto to achieve this higher debt rating. The company says, "A provincial commitment to provide financial support to transit projects will provide new funding to the city, helping to offset pressures.

"Furthermore, the creation of a new provincial agency, the Ontario Municipal Economic Infrastructure Financing Authority, and the provision of provincially subsidized lending through this body will provide additional benefits to Toronto. The re-emergence of the provincial government as a provider of funding for infrastructure will help Toronto keep its debt low while allowing for plenty of new capital investment."

Another major US credit rating firm, Standard and Poor's, has also recently acknowledged the support the Ontario government is providing to municipalities. In a September 5 news release the firm confirmed Ontario's AA credit rating. The company also noted the financial benefits that the proposed Ontario Municipal Economic Infrastructure Financing Authority will have for Ontario municipalities.

I recognize that some members may not be aware of the significant benefits that will flow from the creation of this new financing agency which the Premier announced in August. The agency is called the Ontario Municipal Economic Infrastructure Financing Authority, OMEIFA. I hate to use the shortened names, they confuse people, but nonetheless it is a part of the government and that's how things operate sometimes in the bureaucracy.

It begins its existence with an initial capital infusion from the province of $1 billion. That's a handsome sum. We need to do more, but it's a good start: $1 billion. That money can be used by municipalities to subsidize 50% of the interest costs of any funds borrowed through this authority.

In addition, the Ontario Clean Water Agency, OCWA, will work with the authority to provide an additional $120 million to finance municipal water and sewer infrastructure projects.

The creation of the new municipal financial authority complements the government's previous announcements regarding the creation of tax-free opportunity bonds to help municipalities raise money for vital infrastructure projects. The pool of capital created through the new authority will further reduce municipal financing costs for infrastructure. The amount of capital available to local governments will expand in future, as the financing authority begins to issue opportunity bonds.

Opportunity bonds are tax-free bonds that municipalities can use to help raise money for local capital infrastructure investments. Unlike a standard bond, the interest earned by investors on opportunity bonds would be tax-exempt. This tax-free status will make the bonds more attractive to investors even though they generally yield a lower rate of interest than conventional bonds. We will consult and work in partnership with municipalities, the federal government and other stakeholders to design the most efficient and beneficial opportunity bonds program. Consultations have been announced to take place throughout Ontario during September, October and November. Details about the opportunity bonds program, including the consultations schedule and a means for communicating feedback on the proposal, are on the Ministry of Finance public Web site.


I can again, they can certainly access most of those facilities through my Web site, www.ramindergill.com -- very easy to remember. So I do encourage people to visit that as often as they get a chance, and feel free to send me their questions, because I'll be very happy to pass on their concerns, as need be.

The consultations will seek the views of municipalities and businesses on whether they're interested in other financing and economic development tools.

We'll be engaging stakeholders at a number of forums, as well as through a province-wide tour, to ensure that as many communities as possible have an opportunity to provide input.

The federal government's participation will be essential to the consulting process.

Mr Michael Prue (Beaches-East York): On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I find this all very interesting, but for the last 10 minutes, I haven't once heard "waterfront revitalization" or "Toronto."

The Deputy Speaker: Is that it?

Mr Prue: That's it.

The Deputy Speaker: Then take your seat. I think the speaker will bear that in mind. I'm not going to rule in favour of the point of order, but I would ask the member to ensure that he doesn't stray too far from the point, which of course he usually does not.

Mr Gill: I'm pleased to see that the members opposite, and there are two of them, are both listening. So I'm pleased. But there's more to what I'm speaking about, specifically about the waterfront redevelopment.

It is hoped that they will help municipalities renew and expand their infrastructure by joining Ontario as partners in providing a tax exemption for municipal bonds and contributing to the OMEIFA.

These funds are very, very important to have -- to have the partnership between the municipalities, the provincial government and hopefully the federal government, so that we can revitalize the much-needed waterfront in Toronto.

I've outlined this innovative new financing initiative at some length to highlight the fact that the government of Ontario has been very active in developing effective solutions to help municipalities finance local infrastructure. They've always said the municipalities don't have enough money, but here's a tool. They've always said they want more power to come up with innovative solutions to financing. Here is a tool where the investors can now get involved in these bonds and create the much-needed money that they need for this vital project.

The creation of OMEIFA and the provision for opportunity bonds are two important initiatives in this regard, and in a sense, the redevelopment of the Toronto waterfront is another one.

As I've already mentioned, a total investment of $1.5 billion has been committed to the waterfront redevelopment project by the city, the province and the federal government. This money will help revitalize and transform Toronto's waterfront and will help kick-start the process of finding private sector partners to invest in the city's future.

At the end of the day, our investment will help strengthen the city's international competitiveness, and that is good not only for Toronto, but also for Ontario and the rest of Canada. In the process, we'll be creating thousands of new jobs, our neighbourhoods and our new facilities for living and working in downtown Toronto.

Mr Speaker, I'm always very encouraged as I travel close to York Street, coming into downtown, because there's a huge number of cranes. I know you do the similar drive every day. As the previous Premier used to say, "Cranes are back." It's great to see so many cranes because construction's back. People have the confidence, they're building, and that creates confidence in consumers as well.

Bill 151, the one we are speaking about this evening, fulfills a provincial commitment to take the lead on waterfront redevelopment through the creation of a permanent waterfront revitalization corporation. If the Legislature approves -- I'm hoping they will, in the discussion and the debate today -- we will have taken a significant step toward unlocking the waterfront's tremendous potential. There's no doubt that potential is significant.

As Mr Robert Fung, who chairs the Ontario Waterfront Corp, has pointed out, he could be looking at a series of major projects that might include: 10 million square feet of new commercial and industrial space, an amount equal to the floor space of five SkyDomes; a total of 74 hectares or 183 acres of new public park land; up to 35,000 new permanent jobs, an estimated 165,000 person-years of employment in construction.

Mr Speaker, I do have a lot of points that I want to make but it looks like I might be running out of time, so at a later date, perhaps, I'll come and join the discussion again.

The Deputy Speaker: Thank you. Members now have up to two minutes for questions or comments.

Mr Rick Bartolucci (Sudbury): I'd like to comment on the comments of the member across the way. Certainly, obviously, he's supportive of this and I know his government is supportive of it. They may have come kicking and screaming to the table, but they came to the table. We know that the federal government and the municipal government took the lead, they were the lead governments on this, so the reality is the provincial government had no recourse except to come to the table. I'm glad they came to the table because this is an important project for the city of Toronto, and I think it sends a very positive message to the other cities and towns across Ontario.

The member spoke about the importance of competency. I guess if I have a problem, it's the provincial government's representatives on this commission. Bill Farlinger has become a rather influential individual since he rode in a bus in 1995 with Mike Harris as they rolled across Ontario and ultimately, in my estimation anyway, haven't made Ontario a better place. But certainly Bill Farlinger did pretty well. He's pretty influential at OPG and he's going to be here. I don't know if the competency level is as high as I would want it to be with the representatives for the provincial government, but that's for them to decide. I would just hope that no conflict of interest arises. You obviously have one with Al Leach being on the board of SNC Lavalin and also the vice-chair of GO Transit. That's an obvious conflict of interest, so that's one of the things I'm concerned about. But we'll let the debate unfold.

Mr Prue: I listened with great interest, and it's good to know that the city of Toronto is appreciated by Moody's, among other groups. But I think I need to stand and say that all is not well in the city of Toronto. I think those of us who live in this city, those of us who are downtown, who are not tourists who come here during the day and leave at night, see that a great many things are starting to go wrong.

We can see that the city of Toronto is suffering from a service delivery -- that although it has gone into four different quadrants and is being serviced from four different areas, it is not being serviced identically across the city. We're seeing pockets of problems in our parks and in our streets, which are not nearly so clean as they once were.

We're seeing the problems in municipal governments, whereby access by ordinary citizens has declined to the point that it is now truly becoming frightening. Toronto, before amalgamation, had some 1,300 meetings where local citizens could come together and meet face to face with their politicians and talk about the issues of the day in their neighbourhoods. Last year in Toronto, there was only some 30 local meetings. So we have gone from 1,300 to 30. We can see that in the city of Toronto, like many municipalities, tax increases are now the order of the day. The last two successive years have seen 5% tax increases, and the forecast by the treasurer of that city is that one can expect 5% or more tax increases for at least the next 20 years to come because the tax base is no longer able to sustain itself.

You are starting to see urban decay. You are starting to see gridlock. So although Moody's is most happy with the financial picture in Toronto, those who live in this city are starting to see some cracks. Hopefully the waterfront will be able to help repair and bring some new vibrancy to this city, which is sorely in need of it.


Mr Pat Hoy (Chatham-Kent Essex): I am pleased to rise and make comments on the remarks by the member opposite and just remind the House that Ontario Liberals do support this bill. We support the efforts of development and revitalization.

It's interesting to note, however, that such important issues as development and revitalization should be dealt with promptly. We know that this bill has sat on the order paper for almost a year and was mentioned in the 2000 budget some two and a half years ago. Once again we see that the Harris-Eves government is long on promises and short on delivery. This happens over and over again with the Harris-Eves government.

We could certainly stand some assistance in my riding of Chatham-Kent Essex on development and revitalization when it comes to doctors. For my very first public meeting in 1995, where I invited the public to come and comment on revitalization, what we needed and most specifically the medical situation, it dealt with doctors. The government should know that when businesses want to set up shop, open and create jobs, they come to an area and they say, "First of all, what is the situation with your medical care? And what are your schools like?"

They're closing rural schools in my area, which is detrimental to bringing in jobs. We have too few doctors. Persons who live within the riding and always have do not have doctors. People moving to the area call my office and say, "Where can I find a doctor?" We need help in many areas of the province that are chronically underserved. This will bring about development and revitalization, because the companies I'm speaking of can buy the mortar and bricks anywhere but they need the services for their employees.

Mr Tony Martin (Sault Ste Marie): I didn't hear the member across the way speak even for a moment about the fact that just last week his government sat by while many of Toronto's citizens were kicked out of the only homes they could find, on the waterfront at tent city; or why they didn't get together with the municipal government of Toronto and Home Depot to come up with a solution that would have seen these people housed in a dignified manner that reflected the richness that exists in this province and in this country.

It's actually quite disappointing, which brings me to the other point I didn't hear the member reference at all: any kind of a commitment to affordable housing or social housing on the waterfront. We know they're committed to making sure their friends on Bay Street are going to be looked after. They did that to organizations like Brascan with their hydro deregulation. I was hoping to hear something more about that from the member tonight, but he obviously didn't want to talk about that.

I'm proud to say that our leader, Howard Hampton, has put forward a private member's bill called the Toronto Waterfront Fair Housing Act. We want to ensure that affordable housing is part of the vision so that we aren't just building an enclave for the rich.

If our act had been in place and we had been the government last week, we would have brought all the players together -- the city, the federal government, the people on the waterfront in tent city and some of the people who advocate on their behalf -- and we would have come up with a plan that would have seen something perhaps unique and exciting happen on that property that would indicate the kind of direction we would want to go in as a government to make sure everybody was being served.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Bramalea-Gore-Malton-Springdale has up to two minutes to respond.

Mr Gill: I do appreciate and thank the members who took part in this response to my notes: the members for Sudbury, Beaches-East York, Chatham-Kent Essex and Sault Ste Marie. It does show that they were at least listening. We do know that previous Ontario governments have toyed with the idea, and they never did anything when they were in government. At least we are here with SuperBuild to make sure the funds are there. We don't want to do it alone; we can't do it alone. We want the municipalities and the federal government to be partners.

The member from Beaches-East York talked about "tourists come and tourists go." We want to make sure that tourists come. As you know, new attractions bring close to two million additional visitors to Toronto each year. We are very supportive of that, because we do need them.

The member from Sault Ste Marie talked about tent city and social programs. The best social program anybody can come up with is more jobs -- one million more jobs in Ontario in the last seven years, and the cranes are back, like I said before.

I saw a beautiful bumper sticker the other day while I was driving. It read, "I go to work. I fight poverty." That is the best social program we can create for the people of tent city, for people in need -- a hand up, not a handout. I'm very pleased to be part of a government that recognizes that Toronto is a great city and that we need to nurture its development. I'm happy to support this bill. I know the members opposite support this bill but, being members of the opposition, have to say they don't. I'm not sure where they stand.

The Deputy Speaker: Further debate?

Mr Mario Sergio (York West): I'm delighted to join the debate on Bill 151, the so-called Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation Act, which is actually the only thing in front of us here tonight. There are no politics in front of us tonight, there is no Standard and Poor's, there is no measuring the standard of the government. Those are there to be discussed at other times, and I'm sure we will have our opportunity. This bill, even if it were approved tonight, isn't going to put a shovel in the ground tomorrow -- but finally, to see the government moving to do something positive, something concrete, something with a vision, if I can say, with respect to Toronto and especially the revitalization of the lakefront in Toronto.

This is what's in front of us. It is to have this corporation legitimized, hopefully with a most distinguished board, a most distinguished bunch of people representing the corporation and the interests of the people of Toronto, hopefully with the scope, the purpose, the power, the aims to really do something that should have been done perhaps many years ago. But we are moving. This bill, of course, was introduced almost one year ago.

In his final remarks the member said, "I'd like to know where the opposition stands." Well, let me tell you. There are benefits to seeing that this bill proceeds, and I'll make my remarks with respect to that. There are reasons for seeing that this indeed proceeds, because we are not dealing with politics or if the province has a triple-A or a triple-B rating or whatever. It has to do with the city of Toronto, which is the heart of Ontario and the economic heart of Canada. If it's done properly --


Mr Sergio: Indeed, I'll second the member there -- we have an opportunity to do something with the lakefront of Toronto and the city of Toronto that we can really be proud of. I trust that with the various appointments from the three levels of government, because this is something which is funded by the three levels of government, we will have wonderful people under the direction of Mr Fung, who will proceed with the utmost sense of responsibility and show leadership and say, "We have a vision for the next 20 or 25 years. We will be making the Toronto lakefront and Toronto as a whole the jewel of North America, and we can really say we can compete with any other city in the world."


When we talk of revitalizing, we are not just talking about the lakefront. Having been around for a number of years at the municipal level, and I have seen what happened to the lakefront in Toronto, I'm ashamed to say that we deserved a lot more, a lot better than what we have presently at the lakefront. But at least we are moving.

So let me say to the members on the government side: this has been a year on the books, but it's there. We are here for second reading. We're not even at the final stage to get it out of this House, but we're getting there.

It is the establishment of a corporation which will have to lead this wonderful idea of doing something with the waterfront in Toronto. It is to redevelop for the next 20, 25 years, and maybe into the future.

Let me say at this stage, because we are just now in the discussion -- when I say "we," I mean the city of Toronto -- they are conducting a number of public hearings with respect to the new proposed official plan for the city of Toronto. I think this comes at a very propitious time, when the city of Toronto says, "Well, we see growth, we see potentials, and we have to do it in a very comprehensive but in a very orderly fashion." I will get into transportation and housing, if I have the time.

I think this is at a very propitious time for the existing leaders in Toronto, Toronto municipal council, and the people who will be leading this agency, if you will, the waterfront corporation, to really work together and say, "How can we incorporate our vision for the waterfront with the new official plan of Toronto?" I think both of them must work together, because I believe we cannot have a vibrant waterfront without a healthy, vibrant city of Toronto. You've got to have the waterfront, you've got to have the city core and you've got to have the rest of the city.

I don't have to tell you that every one of us from time to time has had a chance to perhaps take a trip, go on a holiday, visit many other places, and many, many times we have been told, "Well, make sure that you stick to the oceanfront in the hotel strips, in the walkway. Don't you venture yourself going on the back streets."

We don't want that. We want to make sure that when people enjoy the amenities that will be created on the waterfront, equally -- equally -- they will be enjoying the core and they will be enjoying seeing the rest of the city, from one end to the other. Only then can we say that we have accomplished a very successful vision 20 years from now.

I don't know about my colleagues in the House, but I'm planning to be here 20, 25 years from now to see exactly the fruits of what we are doing today. I don't see anybody getting the joke, but that's what I intend to do. If I'll be there, that's another story, but at least I can say today that --


Mr Sergio: -- absolutely -- that we have an opportunity to engage this wonderful corporation here, and say, "We want something to be done with the waterfront in Toronto." And why not? Why not?

The benefits are innumerable, absolutely innumerable -- economically, socially, culturally. Toronto is what it is today, and it can be a lot more tomorrow. But it's up to our vision of today, and in appointing the leaders of the corporation, it's up to their leadership; it is up to their vision.

I hope that all levels of government which have a share in this can retain responsibility and oversee, as the document is showing us, that on an annual basis they will have to supply various documentation, accountability, budget proposals and so forth; that indeed, every level of government, putting aside politics, will oversee in the best interests of all Ontarians, because I believe that whatever flows from the city of Toronto, everyone has to gain; that the members leading the corporation will propose the best plan and get on with it as soon as possible so that in the future we can say, "Yes, indeed, it has been successful."

Let me touch briefly on some of those things that we should benefit from or we will benefit from. It is not only making a beautiful waterfront, walkways, nice green grass and trees and flowers; I think it's a lot more than that.

This envisages a long-term plan, the next 20, 25 years and probably even beyond. It requires a lot of effort from a lot of people, especially from the three levels of government. I want to say to the member across the floor and the members of the government that funding is not stopping here. I think this requires a lot of commitment on behalf of the three levels of government. But I hope, as they say, that this will eventually have to be a partnership of the public and private sectors so that it's not going to be a burden on the city of Toronto and the taxpayers of Ontario.

I have to tell you that we have seen in the past some wonderful projects in the city of Toronto but, in the end, I have no idea if they were so economically wonderful for the people of Toronto. I'm going to have to remember which projects those were, but I think they were not at the same level as Expo 67. I think we've had our share of sinking money into losing propositions.

You would create a tremendous economic potential for us here in Ontario, in Toronto, for all our people: long-term jobs. Economically, I think it would bring a boom to various industries, not only in the GTA but within Toronto itself: restaurants, entertainment facilities, shops, theatres, hotels, convention centres. It would be a people's place first of all, of course. I hope this would be the main aim. Jobs would come with putting the shovel into the ground and saying, "Finally, we are there."

As I said at the beginning to my colleague on the other side, let's not talk about politics or Standard and Poor's or Moody's or whatever with ratings; let's see how far and how quickly we can go so we can get to work, because we are already not one year late but many years late.

Socially, we know the benefits that can occur to Toronto and the people of Ontario. We are already blessed with the richness of a number of events over the years, many cultural events, from downtown to uptown to the Danforth area, where people come from all over the world to attend, to enjoy and to join with the people of Toronto as well.

Culturally, I think it would be even better. Where else would you go in the world but to a city like Toronto, which is, yes, clean and safe and has a number of recreational facilities, artistic facilities, theatres? We are attracting some of the best shows in the world and they keep on lasting for months and months, and I think we need more of that.

I think it's up to us that this revitalization, as we call it, this transformation, if you will, does take place and takes place in the most responsible way. Accountability, of course, yes. That goes without saying -- God forbid, we don't want to see any more 407s; I think this goes from one end of town to the other; while we are talking about the lakefront down here, the 407 is practically in the boondocks with respect to downtown Toronto -- but not along the same lines and the same experience.

I say to the government, you have our blessing, because we see this as something that has to happen, as something positive. But most of the co-operation must come from the provincial level itself, and not to play politics with this issue, because it is too big and too important to play politics with.


This is not the occasion to remind the government members that Toronto is being depleted of one of its major resources: $1.76 billion is being collected by our friendly government here, supposedly to go for education, but it's not going there. We have seen the effects of downloading; we have seen the effect, for example, of no more funding, no more subsidies for transportation.


Mr Sergio: We know it. We've already said that and I said I won't go into that because this issue is too important to play politics with.

But there are other things attached to it. In order to make it work, in order for this vision we have -- the province, the feds and the city -- to work, the revitalization cannot and must not stop at the waterfront. There are a number of other things that must take place at the same time, concurrently, if this is going to work. I know the Premier knows that, I know the Prime Minister knows, I know our mayor and I think most people in Toronto know and I'm sure that even the people who are supposed to be appointed to the corporation know that we are not stopping there.

There is another part just north of the waterfront that must be addressed at the same time as well. When I say that, I'm referring to transportation improvements, new extensions, maintenance to the existing ones. For example, we need some expansion or renovation at the existing Union Station. We have to address the environmental issues and problems with respect to the Don River where it comes into Lake Ontario. We have to address the industrial and port lands as well. This must become part of the entire revitalizing plan.

While it is part of the waterfront revitalization, there are other factors which must be addressed as well, and so they should be. We have the expressway and Lake Shore. We have streets which are part and parcel of the waterfront that must be addressed. Some assessment studies must be done as well with respect to that. It's not only a question of saying, "Well, we are proposing this plan at the waterfront. It looks beautiful. Let's do it." In order to make it work, to make it functional, we have to address the other issues which become part and parcel of the entire waterfront renewal plan. I'm sure they know that. I'm sure they do, from the feds to the provincial government and most of our own local municipal people.

The aim of this new corporation would be to take the lead and address exactly what we would like to see at the waterfront. I hope we can move fast enough so that we can have some local input as well, because we are saying to the corporation, "Here you are. You have been appointed. Take it and run."

I still hope, and I'm sure all levels of government will retain some sense of responsibility and urgency to require and seek input from the people of Toronto as well. After all, they are the ones who will be paying a lot of the bills and consequences. There will be a lot of them who will be living in the city, and I think we owe it to them that indeed the members of the corporation will come to the city of Toronto people and say, "We are ready to go. Let's do it."

I did mention before that we've got to look beyond the limits of the waterfront. When we as Torontonians, as Ontarians -- people coming from the States or other parts of the world can very willingly, safely, happily, enjoy the rest of the city without seeing our people lined up on a subway grill trying to keep warm. We don't want to see homeless on our streets. We want to make sure that we provide for those people. We want to make sure that the success of the waterfront incorporates every other facet of the plan itself. Only then can we say that we've accomplished what we envisioned some 10, 20 years ago with the waterfront revitalization.

If we give them the purpose, the power, the direction, we must seek their leadership and make sure that, indeed, the waterfront will be a waterfront for all Ontarians and Torontonians to enjoy, where we can very well say, "Yes, indeed, Toronto has finally become the world city that we always wanted." Until then, until it stays on our books in here, until we continue to debate it and then move it to the action, nothing is going to happen.

I have to throw this in: let's not play politics with this issue. Let's not hang on to it until we have the next election, for the sake of saying, "Oh, yes, here it is, look what we're doing." This is not an issue to play politics with. I think the opposition is in favour. We are only waiting for the government to say, "We need it. We've been waiting for a year; let's get on with it. Let's give them the power, let's give them direction, let's give them the leadership." But the leadership must come from us in this House first. So I hope the government is listening, and we hope that we can get on our way soon.

The Deputy Speaker: It is now time for members to take up to two minutes for questions or comments.

Mr Martin: I want to say I appreciate the comments by the member who just spoke, the member for York West. I agree with him that we need to get on with this and it needs to be a mix of activity there. Certainly we in the NDP caucus support the provincial and federal action to redevelop Toronto's waterfront. In particular we support a vision of mixed income housing, offices, public space and cultural facilities on the waterfront. In particular we're looking to make sure there's some housing that's affordable for all people there.

It's about time the government got on with it. They've waited for two years after the announcement to move this important project forward. We'll be watching to make sure that public assets are not given away and that there is sufficient public accountability. Our critic for Municipal Affairs and Housing, whom you'll hear from in a few minutes, Michael Prue, has put together a comprehensive urban vision document. We will provide $300 million per year for a fund for a dynamic downtown. This fund would help fund waterfront development, fixing up heritage buildings, cleaning up brownfield sites and a variety of other things to improve our city centres throughout the province.

Our vision also involves affordable housing and an Ontario transportation trust fund to fund transit and roads.

We're concerned, as I've said before, that in all of this we will leave the ordinary working man and woman, the ordinary person -- for example, the people who ended up being evicted last week from the tent city on the waterfront -- out of the equation altogether, and we think that would be a mistake and an unfortunate oversight. The sooner we get our heads around the fact that everybody deserves to live in a dignified, affordable home that's safe, that they can afford, then it benefits us all. We get to claim ourselves as a civil society then.

The Deputy Speaker: Questions, comments? The member for Oak Ridges.


Mr Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): First, I want to thank my colleagues for their applause. I was disappointed that the members opposite didn't join in, but I can understand.


Mr Klees: Thank you very much.

I want to commend the member from York West for his speech today on this bill. It shows the deep sense of understanding that he has of the city of Toronto, and also I think it demonstrates the importance of this bill, that members of all parties are speaking in favour of getting on with addressing the need to revitalize Toronto's waterfront.

The member rightly referred to the need to ensure that the people of Toronto have a say in what that looks like. In my remarks later I'll be addressing some amendments that the government will be proposing that will ensure that, in the course of consultation, entrenched in this legislation is the requirement of the corporation to go back to the people of Toronto and incorporate public consultations as these plans are developed. Also, reference will be made to the importance of conforming to Toronto's official plan as these plans go forward.


I do not live in Toronto. I live in the town of Aurora and represent the riding of Oak Ridges. But let me tell you that when I am travelling abroad -- it is true that although people should know where Aurora is and where Oak Ridges is, they don't -- regardless of where I have been in the world they know where Toronto is. This bill, I believe, will do much more to ensure that Toronto is front and centre in people's minds around the world. We look forward to this bill being passed.

Ms Caroline Di Cocco (Sarnia-Lambton): It's a pleasure to make some comments regarding Bill 151, because it is one of those rare occasions where everyone is very supportive of the direction of the revitalization of the Toronto waterfront. Toronto is a world-class city. The revitalization of that waterfront, I believe, is long past due. It truly is about treating the city of Toronto so it attains and has that world-class character that we have to constantly develop.

You know, they say that politics is about the art of the possible, and this is one of the truly rare occasions. We look at the word "politics" sometimes and it's pejorative, it's negative. This is one those occasions when we can sit down and say that something is happening that has the intent to make the city a much better place to live, and the word "revitalization" says that.

We also have to be very conscious that whatever is balanced there when it comes to this tremendous amount of money that is injected, there is a fair public consultation process that takes place. We have to make sure the public will have access. When we talk about private-public partnerships, we always have to ensure that we protect the interests of the public as much as we encourage the private sector to invest and be a partner. Too many times we have seen that the private sector sometimes tends to be protected more than the public.

I'm pleased to support this bill.

Mr Prue: I would like to commend the member for York West. He spoke, I think, somewhat passionately, but he spoke in a very balanced way, talking about the needs of Toronto but also the need for accountability. I think this is something that is absolutely essential for all members of all parties to understand as we go into what is probably going to be one the largest mammoth undertakings in the history of Toronto. This needs to be an accountable project which at the end of the day will not bankrupt the city, the province or the country.

We have seen in the past, in other places where such mammoth projects have gone on, that although they have succeeded to a greater or lesser extent, they have sometimes ended in bankruptcy. I'm thinking particularly about the London docks, which, if you go there today, is a remarkable place that was once nothing much more than what we see on our own waterfront.

The member also talked about sinking money into losing propositions. I want to assure him that I don't think our waterfront is a losing proposition. But it will be a huge project to reclaim it because of the toxicity of the land and because of the difficulty in marrying the public and private partnerships that are going to have to take place there.

There is a cause to be made for revitalization, and he said it very well. It desperately needs to be revitalized. That land needs to be revitalized. Take the time to walk down there and see the vacant factories, the places that are boarded up, the weeds that are growing and the decrepit railways.

Last but not least, he talked about the urgency, and yes, there is some urgency. There would have been more if we had been fortunate enough to get the Olympics, but we didn't. That should not deter us from looking at the long-term future of this city, and it is urgent at this time that those lands be brought into productive use.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for York West has up to two minutes to respond.

Mr Sergio: My thanks to the members for Beaches-East York, Sarnia-Lambton, Oak Ridges and Sault Ste. Marie, who have contributed to my remarks. I would be accused of living in another world if I were to say I wish the House would always be so pacific, easy to get along with and supportive of everything the government does. It could, and I know this would be a good wish.

Let me briefly address something the member from Oak Ridges said. It's something we all do, and the member from Oak Ridges does it so well. He said when we travel we don't say we are from Mississauga, Aurora, Newmarket or wherever. We say we are from Toronto. I wonder why.

Everything we do, we do it for our people. I can't image the benefits a project of this size would bring to our people.

Mr Bartolucci: Even Sudbury.

Mr Sergio: My friend Rick Bartolucci says "Sudbury." Of course, the numbers of trades, machinery, components, parts, materials are just unthinkable. This is something our neighbours, our sons and daughters would benefit from and would be working in one of these avenues. But above all we've got to do it because it is right. It's been right for many, many years, but we just could not get the political will behind it and say, "We've got to do it." We are there. Let's not pussyfoot around. Let's do it. I'm pleased to see there is support around the House.

The Deputy Speaker: Further debate? The chair recognizes the member for Oak Ridges.


Mr Klees: I do hope that my mother in St Thomas is tuned in tonight. She would be thrilled to hear this applause; it doesn't happen often. This is an historic occasion.

I'm pleased to participate in the debate on Bill 151. Let me begin by saying the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation Act is indeed important legislation, as we have already heard this evening. It would fulfill the province's commitment to provide leadership on waterfront redevelopment by creating a permanent corporation. In turn, that corporation would play a central role in developing and overseeing the completion of an estimated $12 billion in projects. As members know, a unique waterfront redevelopment partnership has indeed been created by the government of Canada, the province of Ontario and the city of Toronto. Together, we're committed to taking advantage of the tremendous opportunity Toronto's waterfront presents, not only to the city and to the province, but indeed to this country.

Our three governments see the redevelopment of Toronto's waterfront as an unprecedented opportunity to accomplish a number of important goals. Those include planning and managing the kind of smart growth that Toronto, the GTA and Ontario will need over the next 20 to 25 years, strengthening the city of Toronto and its economy, along with that of Ontario and indeed the country, realizing the enormous potential represented by the approximately 2,000 acres of underdeveloped land near the city's centre, and perhaps most importantly, creating thousands of new jobs, new business opportunities, new homes and neighbourhoods, new parks and public spaces in the heart of Canada's largest and most exciting city.


I want to speak very briefly to the reference that was made earlier in debate and in responses by the member opposite who was so concerned, and rightfully so, about the city's and the province's underprivileged. I believe that an event like this, a project like this, will indeed go far to strengthen the economy not only of the city but of the province, and give opportunity to people who perhaps don't have that opportunity now to have a job, to earn a living, to in fact become engaged in this momentous opportunity.

I think all of us here today understand the importance of this project. What some members may not know, however, is that the opportunity we have before us closely parallels a similar opportunity that presented itself to the city of Chicago some 150 years ago. In an interesting aside I'd like to share some of those details with you.

During the great railway boom of the mid-19th century, the Illinois Central Railroad came to the city of Chicago and asked for a right-of-way into the heart of that city. Chicago was becoming one of the more important railway towns and much of this activity focused on the city of Chicago. At the time, Chicago was still a relatively young city with a population of about 30,000.

Despite the city's youth and its activity, its leaders recognized the aesthetic and environmental importance of the city's waterfront on Lake Michigan. What's more, they had a vision and the foresight of how to create something special on that waterfront.

The city realized that the lakeshore was suffering badly from erosion, thanks in part to the strong winds that were constantly blowing in from that lake. The issue of erosion is one we're familiar with. I grew up on Lake Ontario and I can tell you that I know the power of the waves on the shoreline. There are people who have lost literally hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars of lands to the power of erosion.

They knew, in the city of Chicago, that a system of breakwaters and dikes was needed in order to protect and maintain that city's shoreline. The city had already asked for financial assistance from both the federal as well as the state governments, and none was forthcoming. As a result, that city negotiated a unique partnership agreement with the Illinois Central Railroad. The city agreed on the one hand to give the railroad an efficient route right into the heart of the city. That was a 300-foot right-of-way on the east side of Michigan Avenue, which was the main street of Chicago at the time. In exchange for that right-of-way, the railroad then agreed to build and maintain a breakwater that would protect the city's shoreline. To this day, the city of Chicago enjoys the benefit of that partnership that took place.

The Illinois Central also agreed to separate its right-of-way with a series of low walls and grass berms. It agreed to the city's stipulation that the railway structure could be high enough to obstruct people's views on the lake only to the point where it would still be aesthetically pleasing and they would have an appropriate view of the lake.

Decades later, even the railroad executives agreed that Chicago's waterfront was one of the most significant aspects of that city and that the waterfront line of that railroad was one of the most significant entrances to any major city in the world. Again, it was the partnership that made all of that happen. When the great Chicago fire of 1871 destroyed much of the city's downtown area, that entrance remained intact.

Today, most freight traffic has shifted away from downtown Chicago, but the waterfront line is still an important part of the regional transportation network serving commuters, linking the downtown area and that waterfront. At the same time, the central waterfront remains one of the most attractive and vibrant parts of the so-called Windy City. It has parkland where people can walk, cycle, swim and play. It has a number of major attractions, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the John G. Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum of natural history, and of course Soldier Field.

I want to point these things out about the city of Chicago because in 1851 that city made some choices that today make that city what it is. I believe that we in Toronto, in Ontario and in this country have a similar opportunity that we, by passing this legislation and by making sure that it's implemented in an accountable and responsible way -- we've had that discussion and no doubt we'll hear more about that -- to impact this city in the same positive way.

The vision and foresight of Chicago civic leaders at the time, the key decision that was made before the outbreak of the American Civil War, created a lasting legacy for the city of Chicago and the people of that great city and gave a tremendous social, economic and cultural asset that they continue to enjoy to this day. When we consider the future of Toronto's waterfront, I would argue that we have an opportunity that very much resembles the one that Chicago had 150 years ago. In a sense, Toronto has a chance to correct one of its biggest mistakes, by reincorporating a vast tract of vacant and underutilized waterfront land into an exciting aspect of this city.

The three government partners in this initiative recognize that it'll take time to plan and deliver the new infrastructure and remediation of contaminated lands on Toronto's waterfront. We also recognize that it will take a significant amount of investment capital to get the job done. That's why all three levels have agreed to invest some $500 million apiece, a total of $1.5 billion toward that waterfront redevelopment initiative -- a significant amount of money, but I would suggest to you, and I know that most members of the House agree, one that is most worthwhile and one that will pay dividends for many, many years to come.

The proposed Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp would have a mandate to oversee an estimated $12 billion worth of redevelopment projects. This is quite possibly the single largest project of its kind in Canadian history. We're talking about a redevelopment on a truly massive scale. As Dr Robert Fung, who chairs the interim waterfront corporation, has pointed out, we could be looking at a series of major projects that include 10 million square feet of new commercial and industrial space. That's an amount equal to a floor space of five SkyDomes; a total of 74 hectares or 183 acres of new parkland for the people in Toronto to enjoy; up to 35,000 new permanent jobs and an estimated 165,000 person-years of employment during construction; new homes for some 68,000 people; $100 million in new annual property tax revenue based on current tax assessments; attractions that would bring an estimated two million additional visitors to Toronto each year, which would represent an increase of about 10%; and $800 million in transit improvements and an additional 100,000 TTC trips per day, which would represent an 8% increase in overall TTC ridership.

To coordinate the public's investment in these new facilities, along with the billions of dollars' worth of private sector investment that we hope to attract and we are confident will be attracted, a permanent revitalization corporation is needed, and hence the purpose of Bill 151. Before the end of October, the interim TWRC will be presenting its development plan and business strategy for the Toronto waterfront central area to three levels of government. The business plan will provide a basis for waterfront investment priorities and decisions over the next five years.


To get that redevelopment process underway, the first four capital projects that will be undertaken under the waterfront initiative have already been announced. Those four projects are in themselves worth about $300 million. They include an expansion of Front Street to the west between Bathurst and Dufferin streets with a new interchange with the Gardiner Expressway near the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition; second, the construction of a second TTC subway platform at Union Station with expanded passenger access between the subway station and the GO Transit concourse; third, the commencement of site preparation and remediation work in the port lands and the west Don lands; and finally, the start of vital environmental assessment work that will lead to the renaturalization of the area near the mouth of the Don River, along with a number of flood protection initiatives.

All three levels of government have agreed to share the costs of these projects equally, and work has been underway on each of these initiatives for some time. So we can see already that the momentum is there. What we have to do now as a Legislature is endorse this bill to ensure that we move on to the next stage.

It's true that, as different levels of government, we may not always see eye to eye on every issue, but when it comes to the Toronto waterfront, as we've already had expressed today, I'm pleased to say that we're acting together as equal partners.

I'd like to take just a few minutes to outline the purpose of Bill 151 and some of the fundamental objectives we have. The first is to establish the permanent Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp, or the TWRC. That permanent corporation would replace the interim corporation that was put in place last year. The proposed legislation would give the TWRC a clear direction with clear principles to guide it in carrying on its business. We've had some discussion today about how important it is on the one hand to set the objective. Equally as important and perhaps more important is that we put in place the appropriate principles that would guide that corporation, the appropriate mechanisms for accountability, and that is what we intend to accomplish through this legislation.

Under the proposed legislation, the corporation would be empowered to leverage the initial investment provided by three governments. The $1.5 billion is a mere beginning to this massive project that has to be undertaken. We fully expect that the private sector would be attracted to invest, participate as partners, and to bring substantial additional capital to the table to achieve the projects that are in mind.

Bill 151 would also ensure the new corporation's accountability, as I mentioned earlier. It will require it to obtain the approval of all three levels of government before borrowing funds, mortgaging assets or generating revenues. While the legislation would give the corporation a mandate to encourage the private sector involvement I mentioned previously, it would also require the corporation to involve the public in developing its plans.

The proposed act outlines the purpose, powers and mandate of the permanent corporation. It gives the corporation a framework to guide it in business planning, financial accountability as well as annual reporting. Bill 151 would provide for a board of directors of up to 13 people, with up to four members to be appointed by each of the three governments. If the legislation is passed, Robert Fung, whose task force report was instrumental in helping shape our future vision for the waterfront, would assume the role of chair of the corporation.

The draft legislation is designed to ensure a smooth transition from the interim to the permanent corporation. It also includes a proposed process for a sunset review and a wind-down plan once the corporation has completed its mandate.

Members should know that, since first reading of the bill, the province has been involved in ongoing consultation with the federal government, the city of Toronto and the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp. As a result of those consultations, the government is prepared to propose several amendments to the bill, as I mentioned earlier. These include: first, a requirement for the corporation to conduct a review of the act and report back to the three governments within 12 months from its enactment on any suggested amendments to the act; second, a requirement that the corporation's business plan include a public consultation plan and, every fifth year, a five-year revitalization plan; and third, a requirement that the province consult with the federal government and the city of Toronto before making any regulations under the proposed act. These proposed amendments, I believe, would clarify certain sections of the legislation as well as respond to suggestions from the federal government, the city of Toronto and the TWRC.

Although the bill doesn't make reference to the city of Toronto's official plan, I want members to be aware that the province is proposing an amendment as well that would provide for the corporation to have its development proposals subject to the terms of Toronto's official plan.

In conclusion, Bill 151 clearly is very important legislation, not only to Toronto but to the province and to the country. I trust that all members of the House will recognize the importance of participating in the passage of this bill. I know that all of us will take great pride when we begin to see the infrastructure developing, the changes, the redevelopment and the revitalization of what is clearly a tremendous asset to the city, to the province and to this country. I invite all members to join with me, then, in making history by voting for a revitalized waterfront and the passage of Bill 151.

Speaker, if I had my way, I would ask for unanimous consent that we pass this bill now without any further debate so that we can get on with it, but I somehow doubt I would get that from this chamber today.

The Deputy Speaker: If the government caucus is done, we'll now move on to questions and comments.

Mr Ted McMeekin (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Aldershot): I'm pleased to follow the esteemed member from Oak Ridges. In fact, I need to say I'm often impressed with his eloquence, particularly on environmental matters. I made my way to the House this evening knowing he would be speaking and looking very much forward to his remarks, and I'm not disappointed that I arrived in time to catch those.

Listening to the detailed explanation, it's clear that this example of private-public partnership offers to those who hold nothing sacred something to believe in. I think in these days it's important for us together to offer people something to believe in.

Any time you can work in partnership to reclaim, restore and resurrect something as special as this project while providing the kind of positive economic benefits that are so clearly obvious to us all, that's not just smart growth, but that's very prudent and intelligent thinking.

As we talk about private-public partnership, the thought has often occurred to me that public sector interests and private sector expertise coming together in partnership only really works if we always bear in mind the most important and the fourth "p," and that's the people who were elected to come into this House to serve. I think this bill does that very nicely. Yes, we're going to pay a price for this project, but it's a price for which future generations will have cause to pause and, I think, give thanks to those who have exercised some leadership here, from all three levels of government and elsewhere, not for leaving something special to our future generations but for leaving something absolutely spectacular. And for that, we can all give thanks.

Mr Prue: I listened with a great deal of enthusiasm to what the member from Oak Ridges had to say. He spoke very well and talked, I think, of several key things that were important to me. The first and foremost was the public accountability for everything that is going to go on.

We often see megaprojects like this, whether they be at the provincial, municipal or federal level, go ahead with limited or no public accountability, or without any public input whatsoever. They are simply dreamed up and carried out, and the people who live in proximity, as most of my residents do, often have to bear some of the problems that develop either during the time of construction or, latterly, after it has been built. We are very, very thankful that public accountability is being factored into this system.

He has proposed that there will be three amendments to the act, and I trust there will be many more than three, because I can think of some that I would like to see. But I do commend him for the three: the conducting of the review of the act 12 months after, because this is going to probably be a 25-year or longer proposition; the public consultation after five years, and I think that is essential so we can continue to make sure it goes on track, because it's going to take a very long time to have this built and up and operating; and, last but not least, is the consultation with all levels of government before the regulations are published and finalized.


The devil is often in the details and it's almost certainly in the regulations. What you don't read in an act you will often find in the regulations and it is they that will give meat to what happens here. So it is essential that the city of Toronto, the federal government and the province agree to what those regulations are so that everybody has a very clear picture of how this is to unfold.

This is an exciting project and I look forward to my opportunity to speak at more length.

Mr Marcel Beaubien (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex): It's a pleasure for me to make a few comments with regard to the comments made by my colleague. When we look at the objects of the corporation under Bill 151, it says, "The following are the objects of the corporation," and if you go to number 3, it says, "To promote and encourage the involvement of the private sector in the development of the designated waterfront area."

I'm not going to talk about Chicago, I'm not going to sing about Chicago tonight, but I want to talk about a small corporation in Sarnia-Lambton that has done well when we talk about the private and public sectors. In the recent Bluewater Business Magazine, June 25 of this year, a company named Steeves and Rozema -- this company specializes in contract management services for all types of real estate and investment properties. They were honoured to receive the Building Owners and Managers Association -- BOMA -- award, which is an international award for the best office building of the year, namely the TOBY award -- not the Toby Barrett award but the award presented internationally. The joint partnership was with the city of Waterloo.

When we look at what some of the municipalities have done in the past and will continue to do in the future, when we look at the private and public sectors, I think there are an awful lot of successful stories. I know sometimes the opposition have some difficulty in embracing the private-public sector, but I think in having the public and private sectors working together, in the long run we do have sustainable projects and programs and at the end of the day the people who benefit from it are the taxpayers, not only of Toronto but of the province of Ontario.

Mr Ernie Parsons (Prince Edward-Hastings): I think every person who stands for election to this House does it because they want to accomplish something, they want to leave a legacy, and I applaud the member for Oak Ridges. This is a wonderful example of our working together to make a better environment.

Quite frankly, though, in some ways we from rural Ontario envy you. If Toronto does well, rural Ontario does well. We are one complete family. So if there's a revitalization that's going to take place, all of Ontario wins on this. But I hope there isn't a need some day to revitalize rural Ontario.

I look at the land that is developed across the province, I look at the prices of land and I see competition taking place between young farmers and developers. I see problems, not just because the land they both want is the absolute best land, but for our young farmers there isn't an opportunity to purchase the land at the price it's going to be; plus you add on the cost of milk quota and equipment and the animals themselves.

I applaud the energies that are going into this development in downtown Toronto. I hope we can use the same energies for our planning for all of Ontario.

When we look at the Oak Ridges moraine, this government modified it but they took Mike Colle's bill to protect the Oak Ridges moraine and passed it. Again, I applauded that. But it has had the side effect, unfortunately, of driving development off the Oak Ridges moraine and on to prime agricultural land. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so when something happened, there was, and in fact there still is, a need to recognize that if we're not going to have development on the Oak Ridges moraine, where are we going to have it happen? We don't want to come back in 25 years and try to correct it. You can't take asphalt off the land once it's there.

The energy that all of the partners are bringing to this venture in Toronto, please bring it to the rest of Ontario and have us do good planning there also and not have to do corrections later.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Oak Ridges has up to two minutes to respond.

Mr Klees: I want to thank my colleagues for their comments, in most cases quite complimentary. I appreciate the participation of the members from Ancaster-Dundas, East York, Lambton-Kent-Middlesex and Prince Edward-Hastings.

I appreciate the comments that were made relative to rural Ontario in that we not be preoccupied necessarily with the city of Toronto or urban areas at the expense of the rural areas of Ontario. That couldn't happen to me, I say to the member. I was raised in a very rural part of this province, in the town of Leamington, the tomato capital of Canada, if not the world. I well know sometimes the resistance and resentment of people in small towns to things that are going on in the great city of Toronto. When it's heard that billions or millions are spent, often there is that stress.

I was in the heart of New York City just last month. I was walking along a street very similar to Yorkville, and outside a restaurant were crates of carrots. On the crate I read, to my delight, "Bradford, Ontario" in the heart of New York City.

My point is very simply this: that without a vibrant city, agricultural products don't have a home. The degree to which we can shore up, the degree to which we can support this great city of Toronto, I believe there will be tremendous, positive repercussions on the rest of our province.

I thank members for their indication of support for this bill. We look forward to working together, as has been said before, in a very non-partisan way to make this bill not only a legislative reality but practically a reality in implementation.

The Deputy Speaker: The floor is open for further debate. The member for Sarnia-Lambton.


Ms Di Cocco: I want to thank my colleagues for their applause, and the government members as well.

I'm pleased to be able to speak at some length on Bill 151, the Toronto waterfront agency. The Ontario Liberals support this bill because we are strong supporters of the efforts to develop and revitalize these vitally important lands here in Toronto.

I'm from Sarnia-Lambton. Sarnia is not a large centre and it's 300 kilometres away from Toronto. Nonetheless Toronto is world-class, the largest city in Canada, and I believe that all levels of government must work together, as they are doing in this project, to do something this positive for a city like Toronto.

The member from Oak Ridges talked about the success story of Chicago. I'd like to talk about a similar success story in Sarnia-Lambton. Many of you know, from having been in Sarnia-Lambton, the amount of waterfront we have. I heard the member from Beaches-East York state that he felt it would take 25 years to do this; in Sarnia, it has taken a generation to buy up all the pieces of the waterfront so it is in public hands. We now have a tremendous amount of well-kept, what they call "passive," to some degree, because there are walkways all along it; the St Clair River -- we have the Lake Huron part of the riding and our waterfront has become a place -- for instance, Point Edward is now placing two large flags, a Canadian and a US flag, to show the co-operation that we have internationally. Port Huron has a Canadian and a US flag as well, and we fly it on either side of the border. We use our waterfronts to show the connection between the two nations.


Underneath our bridge there is a huge walkway. But also it is the place where our native community found the greatest number of artefacts. It was a gathering place, one of the biggest gathering places of all of the various tribes in the area. They have a huge archaeological find.

So our waterfront is -- I guess the word that's used is it's certainly a focal point of what attracts people to come and visit the area. The revitalization of the Toronto waterfront will definitely enhance the community. We also know that when we do something of this size, we have to have fair public consultation. We have to have, also, protection of the public interest.


Ms Di Cocco: I have to say, Speaker, that my colleagues are trying to distract me here, so I do --

The Acting Speaker (Mr Bert Johnson): Do you want me to throw them out?

Ms Di Cocco: I just thought I would mention that, but thank you, Speaker, for telling me that you can take action if they continue to do this.

I would like to really speak directly, though, to this whole point of what our waterfronts are about. The Great Lakes are the biggest bodies of fresh water in the world and, for some reason, we have misused some parts of these wonderful lakefronts. It's high time that the levels of government come together to restore and to revitalize this incredible part of Toronto.

In my riding, it was in 1967 that the inspirational centennial project began this buying-up of private land and putting it back into public hands. We talk about private-public partnerships, but I think it's really important that we balance the two. The member from Lambton-Kent-Middlesex said that we have problems with the private sector. I disagree. It's not having a problem with the private sector; it's making sure that someone is protecting the interests of the public.

The private sector takes care of itself. It knows exactly what it has to do. It has to make sure that it makes money, and it'll do that because it has a single focus. It's a lot more challenging to protect the interest of the public because it isn't one person; there isn't a focal point that focuses on protecting the public sector. That's what concerns me. The private-public partnership that seems to be highlighted sometimes is the 407. I find that to be one of the areas that I think is unbalanced, because the private sector is the one that has gotten all of the benefits and all of the assets, and it is the consumer and the general public that have lost out on that deal. That's my only concern, that when these discussions take place, there is fair public consultation, that there is a transparency there when the decisions are made and that there is accountability so we don't just have a number of people who are salivating to get their hands on some prime pieces of land so they can, of course, make a windfall.

Again, I have to say that there's an area about Toronto that I find incredible. Toronto is a place that has an incredible cultural industry. Unfortunately, we need to do more to strengthen that part, because arts and culture are part and parcel of what gives vitality to a community. We also need to do that. It isn't just by building something that we enhance a community. It's also supporting an infrastructure of people. It's being able to succeed or have this diverse and eclectic cultural industry supported, enhanced and given strength so it becomes -- it is -- world-class and can be showcased as world-class. So when we market Toronto, when we market Ontario, we say, "Come to Ontario." Why? Because there's this wonderful industry here that showcases the best, showcases the excellence we have. Unfortunately we sometimes want to see buildings, and we don't put enough thought and enough development into the people and into our cultural and heritage industry within the city.

What this bill actually does is establish, as has been said here many times, this Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp. This entity is empowered to coordinate the development of Toronto's waterfront, and that's why the city's official plan does not have in it the waterfront as part and parcel -- it doesn't spell out, I guess, the future of the waterfront, because this corporation will do so. I certainly hope that it will be done thoughtfully and isn't just about the easiest way out or getting some big investment. I hope it's thought out long-term so that there is a mix of the private sector but also that accessibility that the public would have to it, and not just another lot of buildings there. So I certainly hope that there's going to be really good consideration and thoughtful consideration in this corporation as it proceeds in this tremendous responsibility, because it is a tremendous responsibility that will be entrusted to it.

These visions that we have as a society are really important, and what happens to the vision sometimes when it comes to the practical part is they tend to disappoint us. They disappoint us because there are sometimes too many interests involved. They disappoint us sometimes because we lose the focus of the public's accessibility to it. After all, the waterfront belongs to the people of Toronto; it belongs to the people of this province. One only hopes that the waterfront corporation will consistently keep that in mind as it moves forward in the development of this waterfront.

The objects and the powers of the corporation are also set out, and the composition, the powers and the duties of the board of directors. So it gives clarity to what their role is.

It says that the board is required to follow directions given jointly by the federal government, the provincial government and the city of Toronto. I believe that is where the success of this corporation will come from. The corporation is also required to give an annual report, including audited financial statements, to all three governments. But I also hope that this corporation will be transparent to the public as it makes its decisions on what it's going to do -- with a lot of consultation as well.

As we know, the city of Toronto is making appointments to the board of directors of the corporation. It also has authority to transfer rights, assets and liabilities to the corporation with the consent of the corporation. So, again, it's going to be a huge responsibility for this corporation to carry out the wishes of the three levels of government.


There is some concern that this organization may become a paper tiger.

Mr Speaker, I am going to relate to you that my colleagues are trying to distract me again. Thank you. They are now leaving, so that won't happen again this evening.

I said, when I had an opportunity to speak for a couple of minutes, that I believe politics is the art of the possible. I say that because too many times when we say, "Don't play politics with this," there is always that negative about the political world. This is one of those focuses that actually has the support of all three parties.

It was interesting, because I listened to member from Oak Ridges as he talked about the vision that Chicago had and how it has been realized today. The member from York West talked about what it meant to him as a citizen of the area. The member from Sault Ste Marie talked about the social conscience that is innate, that should be part and parcel whenever we are developing, because when we develop and work and spend dollars in a community, especially public dollars, it is in the public interest that this is done. That always has to be at the forefront. Time will tell, but in this case I have confidence that it will be done in the public interest and for the public interest. It will benefit everyone, not just the private sector. It is there for the public as well.

I want to talk about the strengthening of not just the waterfront but of the people who work in Toronto in that industry that continues sometimes to feel ignored. The cultural industry tends sometimes to be -- well, there is an indifference, I think in this Legislature, to culture. There has been in the past. One thing that is important is to take a look again at what's needed: to put back a spark of hope in that industry that says the provincial government should play a role as a benefactor, that it should play a role in providing leadership, that it should play a role in the cultural industry. It is the cultural industry that we market, that can be marketed internationally. That's what has given other international cities their character. Sometimes I believe that for some reason we tend to ignore it or at least in the political realm leave it aside. There is a sense of indifference toward it. I am hoping that will change as we move on.

I believe it was over a year ago that there was a great deal of attention to a provincial commitment to putting $500 million toward this project. It is unfortunate that it takes so much time before we actually make the decision and put the plan in place, because you can't get back the time you lose. It's unfortunate. As they say, "When is the best time to plant a tree?" They say, "I should have done it 20 years ago." Well, the next best time is to do it now.

But I do wish that there had been more of a vision, because the Conservatives have been in power for seven years. You cannot develop, revitalize, in a few months. It takes a long time and it takes consistent development. You don't just have this big idea because you're close to an election and you throw some money at it. You have to do it gradually. You have to have a long-term plan. Sometimes in the world of politics I see decisions made only sporadically, just for a short-term period rather than looking at the long-term development of the cities and enhancing of the dimension that gives the city vitality, which I call the cultural industry.

The provincial Liberals support this bill. It is time that it was done. It's long past due.

There is the other dimension that I hope the government will not forget, and that is that it isn't just the waterfront that needs to be revitalized. We need to have some commitment made to the cultural industry, because the city is poorer if aspects within the cultural industry just move away or decide, "You know what? It isn't worth it." Some aspects of it will continue to survive in spite of the indifference government has, but we need to grow it, nurture it and support it.

I'll say just one final thing, and that is that the provincial Liberals will support this wholeheartedly. Now the caveat: see if we can get some commitment for the cultural industry as well.

The Deputy Speaker: Members now have up to two minutes for questions or comments.

Mr Prue: I commend the member for Sarnia-Lambton. She spoke very well, even though she was being bothered by members of her own caucus.

I had the opportunity earlier this year of travelling through Sarnia one day; I had not been there for a long time before that. The city has grown, although I do have to say some of the downtown stores looked like they too needed revitalization. But the parks around the Bluewater Bridge and everything were absolutely beautiful. It shows what a city can do that sets its mind to act in a public way.

She made a very good point about public-private partnerships. Many governments at all levels and of all political stripes talk and do things about public-private partnerships, but the important thing to remember, as she so eloquently put it, is that our job is to protect the public. The private industries, the private commercial forces, will be able to protect their own interests and look after their own money, but the people are counting on us to make sure that the "public" in public-private partnerships is adhered to.

Last but not least, she spent a great deal of time talking about the arts. It is refreshing to see someone actually stand up and talk about what is one of Toronto's major industries. People forget how many people in this city are employed in the arts; how many tourists come to Toronto, and in fact to many places in Ontario, to see arts and arts productions; all the people who earn their living this way; all the people who appreciate this. It is something that truly makes us Canadians. One only has to look at the Group of Seven's paintings to know they are unique in the whole world. Just as those paintings are unique, so are our dancers, our singers, all of our artists, and we need to showcase them more and more.


Mr Dave Levac (Brant): I appreciate the opportunity to compliment my colleague from Sarnia-Lambton and to come to the defence of the member from Sudbury, at whom I think I saw the Chair of Management Board make a face or two as well. I'm not sure, but I'll review the tapes. The member opposite was smiling, anyway.

The member talks to us about the cultural makeup of Toronto, and because of that I think the recognition is important that there is a relationship between what she's talking about and Bill 151.

The member for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex made a comment about questioning whether or not the opposition understands the public-private partnership aspect of this particular project. I am hoping that he's making reference specifically to this bill, because if he's not I find it offensive to think that the public interest would not be looked after in this House, period, regardless of whether or not it was a public entity or a private entity. We have responsibilities to the people of Ontario, and if it means that a public-private partnership is appropriate, then we will do so. If it does not mean that, we have to stand up in this House. We are challenged to stand up in this House and make sure that those partnerships are appropriate to the development of the people of the province of Ontario. The bricks and mortar get taken care of by themselves, quite frankly, and the idea the member spoke to us about, the cultural industry, is an important aspect of it.

What she also asks us to do in Bill 151 is make sure that it's transparent, that it's a consultation process and that we are accountable to the people of Ontario, that there are no secrets in this particular deal. I'm hoping that's the case with Bill 151.

One of the reasons that I am concerned about the cultural industry is what's been happening in education. If you take a look at our cancelled ESL programs and the international language programs, it does not address what the member is talking about, and I hope that the members opposite keep that in mind too when they start looking at this in a holistic manner, not just the waterfront itself.

Mr Martin: I also want to congratulate the member for Sarnia-Lambton for her usual eloquent contribution to the debate here in the House over the last few years. This evening she focused on a couple of points where this legislation is concerned that are very important. They've already been mentioned by many.

Reflective of some of the reading I've been doing in the last few days, because I've had a delegation of folks over from Ireland -- they're experiencing a very exciting resurgence to their economy. In that resurgence they haven't forgotten one of the things that the member for Sarnia-Lambton has mentioned today, and it has benefited everybody because of that: the focus on the arts and culture.

Blended into everything that the Irish are doing these days is a notion of inclusion, making sure that everybody who lives in a particular jurisdiction and in the country is involved and included, that what they do both publicly and privately benefits as many as possible. It's something they've been successful at. They've been successful in doing that by the use of arts and culture. Certainly the focus has been, over the last while, in this piece on housing, another area that the Irish have found a way to include absolutely everybody that's possible. I heard the member mention the issue of social inclusion and social justice. We cannot move forward as a society unless we include everybody. It affects everything we do, including our collective social security. I thank the member for putting that on the record this evening and encourage all to consider it as we vote on this bill.

Mr Levac: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I want to clarify a comment I made that indicated the Chair of the Management Board may have been trying to distract. That was not the case. I was making reference in jest to the member for Sudbury. I withdraw that comment.

The Deputy Speaker: It is appropriate to correct your own record.

Mr Bartolucci: It's a privilege to comment on the member for Sarnia-Lambton. Her passion that she brings to this House -- whether she's defending her own riding or whether she's speaking for a better Ontario, she does it with a great deal of commitment and dedication, with a foundation based on fact and determination to make a difference. People of Sarnia-Lambton are very, very fortunate to have her as a representative. She has a passion for culture, there's absolutely no question. But you know, she doesn't only talk the talk, she walks the walk. She sponsored a cultural summit here in Toronto. She brought people in from all the different aspects of the cultural community, representatives not based on partisan politics but just on their desire to make a difference in the world of culture. Then she spun that off with four cultural forums: one in Sarnia, one in Blyth, one in Owen Sound and one in Ottawa. We're a better province because of that summit and because of those forums.

So I guess what we heard tonight from the member for Sarnia-Lambton about protecting the culture as we debate this bill -- you know, she brought the tie-in. There is very definitely an important tie-in, and she tried to explain that. I hope the government members were listening. I hope those people who will ultimately and finally implement this bill were listening. It is important, and I thank her for those very, very kind comments and for her determination and dedication.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Sarnia-Lambton now has up to two minutes to respond.

Ms Di Cocco: It is wonderful to see the co-operative aspect in regard to all of the levels of government. I do have to thank my colleagues for their kind comments in regard to my position, what I've stated.

All of us have a role to play when it comes to the building of our society. Again, we build our society by doing and putting together projects like this, with all the levels of government, and that's what we do to revitalize, to make it a better place. But it's also about the development of the organizations and what actually makes the society vital, what gives it vitality.

We can revitalize the waterfront, but if we don't have the infrastructure and we don't have the vitality of our industries, our cultural industry, if we don't have that as part and parcel of being able to showcase that on our waterfront revitalization, then we're going to be the poorer for it, even though we might have some wonderful buildings there.

Again, I do want to say that I am totally in support of this bill, because it's the right thing to do. It's time. It was delayed a year but it's time that we did it. This is a world-class city and its waterfront should be a world-class waterfront.

Sarnia has a world-class waterfront. Sarnia is a border city. Its size is not as big as Toronto, but we have a wonderful waterfront that is definitely an attraction for tourists who come from all over the world.

The Deputy Speaker: It is now time for the deferred leadoff debate of the third party, and to that end, the Chair recognizes the member for Beaches-East York, who has up to one hour.

Mr Prue: I think, Mr Speaker, about 40 minutes, if I'm correct. I can't quite see the clock from here.

Mr John O'Toole (Durham): Share the time. I would like a few minutes.

Mr Prue: No, I'm not going to give you any time on this at all.

I stand here tonight, probably as the only politician, certainly the only politician in this House, who has actually had an opportunity, not once but twice, to debate this issue, the first time at the city of Toronto, where I was a councillor for some four years. In the city of Toronto we did a lot of things before I arrived in this august chamber. As a matter of fact, I arrived here exactly one year ago today. So here I am a year later, debating some of the same things that I left off debating in the city of Toronto.

One of the aspects about the debate in Toronto a little bit more than a year ago that intrigued me the most was the whole debate about the waterfront, about Robert Fung's role in that waterfront, the vision of Toronto and about where we were going as a city.

It has been said here tonight that Toronto is a world-class city. There are some who would think it is and some who would think it is not. Some would think it once was and some would hope that one day it will again regain that stature.


Before I left, we had many talks about what we would do about that waterfront. One of the things we did immediately -- I think this is now about two or three years old -- was a very contentious vote to dismantle the Gardiner Expressway from Leslie Street over to the Don Valley Parkway. It has now been completely dismantled. If you've had an opportunity to drive along that expressway in the last little while, you will see how that waterfront has been reclaimed. You don't have the eyesore of the Gardiner Expressway leading up. You have flat land that you can see over and beyond, and you can start to see down to the lake. It has reconnected both sides of the street. You can see your neighbours now, and you can see what they are doing.

We had an opportunity to see the architectural drawings and the renderings by people who had visions about what the waterfront would one day look like. It was a breathtaking vision. It included canals and places for people to walk. It did not include cars. One thing I have to tell you is it did not include cars and parking lots. It included long promenades for walking, public transportation, venues for people to showcase their talents, places for the arts, restaurants and galleries, places for people to live and, yes, provisions for public and assisted housing so that people of all categories could afford to go there, so that they could all afford to live there and so that the streets and canals would remain safe at night; people could go, leave their homes and know there was a vibrancy and a community living around there, not just some barren place close to the lake where one went during the day and retreated from at night.

We did lots of work around Union Station, making sure there would be extra capacity at that station for people to travel on the TTC, so that there would an opportunity in the future perhaps to connect a bus station closer to Union Station so that people could travel by train and transfer on to buses and vice-versa, on to the TTC and on to the trains.

We did the work of appointing the board from Toronto. I'll get to that a little bit later in my speech, but that was also exciting because of the give and take of the Toronto council: who was going to serve on the board, whether it was going to be all business people or whether we were going to involve some people from labour, from the arts or from government. All of those decisions were made.

Now myself I have a second opportunity to start that debate again here. It's quite exciting, because today we're not seeing drawings, planning and architecture but the guts, the meat and the insides. We're seeing an opportunity of how to develop this and how to make sure that governments at all levels participate.

In looking at the research for Toronto, we also did a lot of studies of other cities around the world, most of which I have had an opportunity, in my all-too-brief life, to visit. We had an opportunity to look at what they did in their particular cities to make them vibrant, to make sure they were attractive to the public and to make sure building went on there. One of the better examples, probably, that everyone knows are the city of London that took its derelict docklands -- absolutely derelict; no one would go there. It was the home of drugs, gangsters and people who were down on their luck. It was a place where nobody went at night.

Today the docklands of London are one of the tourist attractions of that city. They are vibrant and alive with bars, restaurants and art galleries. It took the genius of a couple of Canadian guys from Edmonton to do it, who, by the way, went broke in the process. But it took their genius, along with a lot of money from the central government of England and the city of London to pull that off. And today it is a wonder. It is one of the truly great urban miracles in the world, and I'm hoping we can emulate some of what they did.

One can look at the city of Barcelona in Spain, an absolutely magnificent city, tracing its roots back hundreds if not thousands of years. You can look at that city and see that they took a derelict waterfront that was not unlike most of the Mediterranean waterfronts -- you know, with the red-light district downtown, with places where people hung out that were a little bit unsavoury. They have taken that waterfront and turned it into one of the most spectacular places on the face of this planet, where you can walk, where you can go shopping, where you can walk up and down the Ramblas at night and see jugglers and mimes and people acting on the street, where you can eat wonderful meals and where people are happy to be downtown and on their waterfront. They did a tremendous job. They did it in terms of the Olympics, and we may not yet have that opportunity, although if we build the waterfront I'm hoping one day we may see it yet.

One can go to Sydney and see what they did with their waterfront. It is considered one of the top two waterfronts in the entire world, the other one being in Vancouver. You can see what they've done in downtown Sydney, which is a joy to go to. It is a place that is absolutely bustling, yet it is a place where you can pick up a ferry and cross to any of the points to go swimming. It is a place where you can see art and architecture and the famous Sydney Opera House.

You can go to Auckland, New Zealand, which has a terrific downtown waterfront, with a marine museum where you're the one walking inside, with the sharks swimming around you, right there in the downtown core. It is truly a remarkable place as well.

Others that we looked at and studied, which I've also had a chance to visit: Hong Kong and Shanghai, Chicago and Cape Town, South Africa. All have done a terrific job in reclaiming their waterfronts.

I'd like to spend just a couple of minutes talking about the two Canadian examples that have done a tremendous job. We need look no further than our own Canadian provinces. One of them is Vancouver, which is considered to have the second-best waterfront in the world, after Sidney, Australia. Of course, it has the remarkable good fortune of having the coastal mountains immediately behind it, and the backdrop is spectacular. What they have done with their waterfront is to invite the people to go there, along the waterfront and up into Stanley Park, where people feel at ease, where they go out for a meal at night, where they walk along the waterfront. There are even people out fishing, people out doing everything and every manner of exercise you can imagine. There are people at the restaurants, the bars and the cultural events in downtown Vancouver.

You can also go to Halifax and see where they took the old sheds down. They left some of the sheds up and they've turned them into art centres, right there on the docks. People from all over that city and Dartmouth and from around the Maritimes gravitate to that location as their cultural headquarters, where one can do and find almost everything.

It is a remarkable transformation from what had been just a few years before that nothing but a shanty town. It is the place where the famous Blue Nose docks. I hope we would have similar docking facilities for such great tall ships as well.

Having seen all of those, your mind gets to the point where you think, "Wow, Toronto can do it, too." I know Toronto can do it with good will. The city of Toronto has just published its official plan, and that official plan is a blueprint for what we would like to see this city become in the future. It protects most of the neighbourhoods, but what it does more importantly than that is it sets out a blueprint for development in this city. Key to that development are the parks, the public gardens, the housing, the public space, the canals, the culture, the tourism that will gravitate toward our waterfront.

Of many cities around the world, we are unique in living on such a large body of water. It is not an ocean, but it is a very large body of water which is open completely to the public. All of our beaches are public beaches in Toronto. They are not private beaches, like Malibu. They are not private beaches that one will find in many parts of the world that belong to a hotel and you need to be a resident to go on to them. They are all public beaches and public walkways along a whole string of waterfront, leading right from the Niagara Escarpment all the way through to about Kingston. One will find that all of that land is public land, or most of it is public land.


This is an opportunity for all of us to support those things that are essential to the docklands, that are essential to Toronto if it is again to become a world-class city. Housing can be built there when there is a housing crisis in this province that is starting to reach staggering proportions. There are 65,000 people on waiting lists for socially assisted housing in the city of Toronto alone, and that number continues to grow. In fact if you are looking for a three-bedroom or a four-bedroom unit in the city of Toronto because you may have three or four children and you need proper space for them, if you were to put your name down today, you would not get that unit until those children were all grown up because the waiting list is now 17 or 18 years to get such assisted housing for your family.

We are in desperate need of housing. If there is to be housing built on that site, it needs to be a mixture of both high-end use and assisted housing. There can be no more ghettos, and certainly on our waterfront we would never want to have one. We need to have the housing available to everyone, rich and poor, who would have to and would learn to live side by side.

We need to do so much about our public space. In this city, if you fly over it or if you go up into the tall buildings in the Royal Bank Tower and you look out, you will see that this is a city of green; it is a city of trees. There are 2.5 million people who live here, but there are some six million trees in Toronto. That's about two and a half trees for every person who lives here. You can see that from any high space, but we need even more green space. We need public space where kids can go to play, where games can take place, soccer and baseball and maybe football as well, although I don't think Canadian football is quite having the popularity it once did.

We need an opportunity for our culture to be showcased. Although we have many venues in this city, there is an opportunity for outdoor culture to grab hold and take root. One has just come to my riding quite recently. It's going to be called Shakespeare in the Park. They're going to have a huge tent and perform Shakespeare down by Ashbridge's Bay, not very far from this very location, starting next year. They're going to be doing that. That's the kind of thing we need to bring culture down to the beach, culture down to the Don lands and around the Don River.

We need for tourism to grow again. Tourism in Toronto has stagnated in the last number of years, in large part I think due to our own success. We were very successful in bringing tourists. We were very successful when we had entrepreneurs like Garth Drabinsky spending hundreds and maybe millions of dollars in advertising in the United States for people to come up and see our shows and to discover Toronto. When that venture failed, the money that was spent by the government of Ontario and the government of the city of Toronto paled in comparison. We have dropped from being a major tourist destination to being only an intermediate tourist destination. That only took a few years. Building something of this magnitude will bring the people back in huge numbers, and we can only look forward to that.

What has been happening, though, at the waterfront in the last year is a little disquieting. What is happening down there now is that some of the lands that are not in public hands -- and the majority of it is, but that which is not in public hands is starting to look frightfully like it's not going to be the kind of dream that everyone in this House has spoken about today.

We look at Home Depot -- very much in the news in the last few days because of the tent city. I'm not going to get into the argument whether or not the people should have been removed or not removed; the only thing I would say is, they were removed in haste. Be that as it may, Home Depot owns that land and has no plans to develop it. What that means is they're holding on to the land for speculative purposes.

That is disquieting to me and should be disquieting to everyone in this chamber because those lands will be held and will be sold at some point to the highest bidder, most likely when things start to move. The value of the land will appreciate and it may or may not come into public hands or be used in a public way. It is the first readily available land that one reaches on the harbourfront as one travels east along Lake Shore Boulevard. It is a very large piece of land.

We also see what is happening down there. There is a Canadian Tire facility that is proposed and going before the Ontario Municipal Board in short order. We will have yet another Canadian Tire store on that land. Is that the dream the members here have? There's nothing wrong with a Canadian Tire store; I have two in my immediate neighbourhood, one that you can walk to and the other you can drive to in five minutes, and there's one further down on the Danforth from where I live that one can drive to in about eight or 10 minutes. I have nothing against them. I shop there quite often. But is that the dream we have for the harbourfront? I would hope not.

I see a much bigger use for this land. I see a use that is public, where people can go and enjoy themselves, where we can market ourselves for the whole world, where we can have things that are so unique, so wonderful and so Canadian that people will want to come here from all over Canada, all over the United States and further afield than that.

We have the disquieting problem of what took place about two years ago when TEDCO, the Toronto Economic Development Corp, which is an arm's-length agency from the city of Toronto, renewed the contract involving Knob Hill Farms without public debate. That was prime land that was going to be in the middle of the Olympic village and is certainly in the middle of this wonderful piece of land. That has never truly been resolved and needs to be resolved by this new corporation.

In two years we have seen a major setback. We have allowed the big retailers to gain a foothold in this prime land and we have waited a year beyond what we should have to have this bill before this Legislature. Thankfully it's better late than never and we're on to it today. I commend the government for that, although it's a little late. I am heartened by what the member from Oak Ridges had to say earlier, that there were going to be some changes to the legislation, and I would like to propose some others that I think are essential. I trust this is going to committee and that it won't be rammed through and a closure bill brought forward like we had this morning. I trust that this goes to committee so that we can look at those changes that are being proposed, because I think they're good ones.

I would also like to talk about some other changes that are necessary in order to make sure that the public is totally protected. At the present time the corporation will be outside of the freedom of information act. This is a wrong-headed thing to do for something that is so vitally important to the public of this city and this province. It needs to be brought back within the freedom of information and privacy legislation. It is not a crown agency and therefore is not subject at this time, but it could be drafted within the legislation either now or immediately in the future or put into the regulations that it be brought into the freedom of information act so that everyone would be able to find out at any given time what was going on.

There may be instances -- and I understand this -- where business deals are being made and one needs to protect one's business versus those of another or against a competitor, but that clearly can be put into the regulations.

I think for a while of the time I spent on the board of directors of the Hummingbird here in Toronto -- a wonderful organization. For those who haven't been there for a while, it used to be known as the O'Keefe Centre. At that location there were many things. It was a public corporation and many of those issues that were resolved within the corporation were open to the public; some were not, and clearly they were not because of competitive advantage. It was part of the charter of that organization, set down both by the city and the province.

I am suggesting that a similar tack be taken there, that the public has a right to know. The public has the right to know because of the debacle of what happened in Knob Hill Farms and the TEDCO lands. They have the right to know all the sales of lands that could conceivably take place. Some of the land will have to be sold in order to raise the necessary capital. They need to know who is buying the land or that the land is sold for fair market value, and whether there is a tender process so that people cannot make windfall profits by buying it. There cannot ever be any person who stands up and says, "This was a shady deal." We need to know, when we are handling public land, that it is handled in a very public way.


The sale of land and the rights will bring in billions of dollars at some stage in the development; maybe not immediately, but at some stage when things start to move, that land will become increasingly valuable for hotels, for artistic venues, for high-end condos. We need to make sure that any land that is sold, no matter how much that land is -- we have the right to protect the public interest. Not only do we have the right, we have the duty to do so.

In this country we have a long history, most of it wonderful and glorious but some of it more than a little shameful. I'm thinking particularly around the railways, when the railways took huge tracts of land from the government in order to build the railways. People made enormous sums of money by taking up prime real estate, which exists to this day in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver, and it's all railway land.

We need to make sure that where corporations are brought in and where we have public-private partnerships, the money, if it is to be made, would go in part to business people, because why else would they do it -- and I'm not naive -- but in large part it has to go back to the public, who own the land. In large part, it has to go back to the cities and to the province, which are themselves risking a fair amount of money in this dream.

I also look at what happened in the Hudson's Bay Co, which is very much the same. Huge tracts of land were given to them. That is to this day some 200 or 300 years old. I don't know how old it is. It's the oldest corporation in North America and probably one of the oldest in the world. Its land holdings were so extensive due to governments giving away the land to them in order to help the settlement process and the public interest was not protected in those years leading up to Confederation.

There is nothing in the bill that talks about affordable housing. Affordable housing on the lands around the Don River has been a dream of the city of Toronto for many years. In fact, the city of Toronto -- this is the old city -- went out and bought some lands called Ataratiri to build public housing on them. It was one of the great debacles of that old city council, to buy the land for untold millions of dollars and to end up being unable to develop the land because it was too toxic to do so. It could not comply with any of the laws of Ontario that existed at that time. The cleanup would have cost too much money. Although the land was there and the idea was noble, it just simply could not be done.

Having said that, the dream of the city of Toronto is still to get people down into those derelict sites and have real housing for people who need it. Quite frankly, I think that dream has not died. What we need to do is to ensure that if money is invested, the land will be habitable. We need to ensure that where the factories were, if there are to be commercial enterprises, hotels, movie theatres or art galleries, it too is habitable. We cannot have people going on to toxic sites. They need to be cleaned up.

We need affordable housing. We have all seen what happened this past week in tent city. We have seen what happened there. There is no doubt in my mind or in the minds of anyone else that that land was owned by Home Depot and that the people there were squatters. The only question in everyone's mind was, when they were evicted from that site four and a half years after they had arrived, "Was it done humanely and responsibly?" To my mind, it was not done humanely and responsibly, with people locked out of their homes, without their medication, without their identification, without their money and, in some cases, with pets still inside the house. It could have been done better.

But having said that, there is a need for something to be done for people like those who live in tent city. There is much derision, and I heard some here today: "Why don't they just get a job?" If one were to meet these people, one could easily, easily understand the difficulties they have. Some have been in jail for a long time. Many have been abused. Many have psychiatric and emotional problems. Some, too, have drug and alcohol problems. They simply need a place to live. What I am suggesting is that the place to live should and can be in locations that are down there. It does not have to become an enclave of the rich. It can be a place for everyone.

This government has not built any assisted housing in the last seven years. As I said earlier, there is a waiting list in the city of Toronto that would just shock you, of people needing affordable housing. It is the number one issue in my office every day. Some members stood up earlier and said that the problem of deadbeat parents not paying child support was their number one problem, but I want to tell you that inside the city of Toronto, although that is maybe the number two or number three problem, it is not the first one. The first one, without a doubt, day in and day out, is that people are desperate for a place to live. We need to make sure that whatever is built on those lands must include a residential portion, and it must include a portion that is affordable.

This government has also gutted tenants' rights under the Tenant Protection Act. Above-guideline increases, fees for a one-time spike in natural gas prices that are forever, and vacancy decontrols have all taken their toll in this city. A one-bedroom apartment now is $900-plus, a two-bedroom is now close to $1,100, and those are the average costs.

Hon Dan Newman (Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care): What's the property tax?

Mr Prue: "What's the problem with that?" they ask opposite. What's the problem with that? The problem is that there are many people in this city who earn minimum wage. Even those who work would find a hard time. I would challenge any of you: 40 times $6.75 is about $300 a week, and after taxes you wouldn't take home $1,000, which means you couldn't get a one-bedroom apartment and eat. That's the problem with that.

There is no mention in the bill -- Howard Hampton's private member's bill, Toronto Waterfront Fair Housing Act, would have resolved that. In fact, I would like to see the government come forward with something like this, not today -- because this is the day to deal with the actual meat and the guts of this bill -- but certainly in the future there needs to be a component. I would suggest the component might come 12 months from now. I would take the government at its word if the minister stood up and said that was the intent, to give some kind of direction to this new corporation that 12 months from now they would come up with a plan that would look at housing that is desperately needed in this city. In fact, many things are desperately needed in this city, but the number one has to be housing. If that can be resolved on this site and every other available site, then all of the problems of homelessness, all of the problems of poverty, all of the problems of social dislocation will be, if not eradicated, then at least alleviated to a huge extent.

A year ago, as I said, I took my seat right here in this little corner of this august chamber and set to work. One of the first things I had an opportunity to do was to sit down and help to write an urban vision for our cities. Some people accused it of being a little Toronto-centric, but what can I tell you? I have spent my entire life in this city. Although I have travelled to a great many places and although I did once live, for some nine months when I was a student, at Carleton University in Ottawa, the rest of my time I have spent here.


I don't think it is a Toronto-centric document; it is a document for everyone. What we proposed a long time ago -- some 10 months ago when this was first published -- I think bears out what is needed here in Toronto at this location but could equally be used in Sarnia or any of the ridings in this province. It could equally be used in small towns as in large cities, in urban as in rural places. It is an empowerment of municipalities to do the right things to build dynamic downtowns.

I would just like to read one small little bit from that, as to what needs to be done. If this is done here at the waterfront, then this will be a template or a model for what could happen all over this province. It's the 52nd recommendation and it reads:

"Create a special fund for a dynamic downtown funded through a contribution of two cents a litre of the existing gasoline tax. This money would be in addition to the two cents a litre that will fund the Ontario transportation trust fund. The funding would also be in addition to current provincial funding commitments.

"The fund for a dynamic downtown would be allocated to projects developed and submitted by cities. It would fund:

"the cleanup of `brownfield sites'; former industrial sites should be put to new use,

"grants to restore heritage property,

"new downtown parks and public spaces or restoration of existing ones,

"capital grants for dynamic cultural facilities like museums, theatres and music venues,

"architecturally impressive new public buildings," and

"waterfront development."

It would seem to me quite logical that all of those are necessary and all of those will actually come to fruition on the waterfront. That is the place where all of those can happen. This is the first opportunity and probably the biggest and best opportunity in the province to fund and support a dynamic downtown.

Having said that, once this is started, this will be the template or the dream for places like Windsor or Brantford or Hamilton. It will be a dream that can be realized in every town and city in this province.

There is another problem with the bill -- and this may be resolved fairly soon because of that which the member for Oak Ridges talked about -- and that is that the business plan under the bill must be made 90 days before the beginning of each year. That is a good idea. Nobody has any problem with the business plan. What is not there is a requirement that that business plan be made public. It is essential that the business plan be made public. It is essential that people have an opportunity to see what is in the business plan as it evolves. It will be necessary that this plan be shared with governments at all three levels. We believe it should be made available to every citizen who has an interest in this property. Without that, without the knowledge of how it unfolds and what is happening to it, year in and year out, the public will be shut out of the process. As has been said by the member from Oak Ridges, that is not the intention, and if it is not the intention, then this too will need to be changed within the act.

There is no provision within the act that there be an annual audit. There must be an annual audit so that people can see how much is being spent, how much money is being taken in, what land deals are being made, whether they are successful, whether they meet the test of the auditors.

Mr Gill: Better than you ever did.

Mr Prue: Better than I ever did? What did I ever do that you didn't like?

Mr Gill: Your party.

Mr Prue: My party? I wasn't here.

There is a further provision that I think needs to be changed. It's a strange provision and I do not pretend to understand why it is there. Reading from the act itself, it's found in section 13. Section 13 talks about winding up the corporation, and 13(1) says,

"The provincial government may by order require the board of directors to wind up the affairs of the corporation on or after the 20th anniversary of the date on which section 2 comes into force."

It then goes on to talk about the restriction, the mandatory winding-up, the duty of the board and the transfer of assets and liabilities, all within that section.

This is rather strange. First of all it gives the power to the province and not to the municipality or the federal government, who everywhere else in the bill are equal partners. I would suggest that they need to remain equal partners even in the event that the corporation is wound up.

Robert Fung himself said that this is a project that will take a minimum of 25 years and perhaps longer. There is no sense in being able to wind up a corporation in 20 years at the express wish of only one of the partners if the job remains undone. I would suggest that section 13 needs to be rewritten to allow for a realistic time frame and it needs to involve both of the funding partners; both the city and the federal government. To do it unilaterally, as has been suggested in this section, is to do a disservice to the people we are trying to bring on board. Certainly the time frame that has been suggested is unrealistic in terms of what the chief architect of this plan says is doable. He is talking in terms of a minimum of 25 years, and this will seek to wind it up potentially after 20.

There is another problem. Mr Speaker, have I still got time? Not much.

Mr Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North): We've got three more minutes of pain.

Mr Prue: I'm going to give you more when I come back the next time.

Hon Brad Clark (Minister of Labour): We won't be on duty.

Mr Prue: Oh, good. All right. Then somebody else will comment. I hope they read it.

Mr Dunlop: We're trying to listen to you.

Mr Prue: I know you are.

The next problem I see here is that the city of Toronto is still at this stage a junior partner. They need to be brought on board not as a junior partner but as a full-fledged partner. The decisions will primarily affect the city of Toronto and its residents, particularly those residents who live in proximity to the southeast end of the city: the residents of Toronto-Danforth, Beaches-East York and Rosedale. Those are the ones that are in the immediate proximity and they need to be the full partner. No one else in the province will be affected to nearly the same degree. No other city will be affected to the same degree and certainly the province needs to make the city of Toronto a full partner. The Municipal Act should be amended to recognize that the city has that authority as of right. If there is one thing the city of Toronto should have as of right, it's equality when it comes to developing these lands.

There is also no provision in the act for open, public meetings. All of these meetings can take place in private. All of these meetings can shut out the public. No matter what the topic is, there is no provision that will allow the public to enter those meetings, which many times may be board and confidential meetings. I understand that, but there needs to be a mechanism where it is not essential to protect the asset of the corporation. Where there is no business decision being made, there needs to be a provision for the holding of public meetings. That is not in this act and should be in this act.

Mr Speaker, I think it's about 9:30. I'm prepared to stop at this time -- it's an appropriate time -- and continue later. Thank you.

Hon Mr Newman: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: During the comments from the honourable member from Beaches-East York, when he was talking about the high cost of rental apartments in Toronto, there was an interjection by myself. I interjected by saying, "How much is the property tax?" and not what the member thought I had said. I wanted the record to accurately reflect that I did say, "How much is the property tax?" In Toronto, residential apartments pay a far higher tax than they ought to.

The Deputy Speaker: I indicated to the minister that if he wished to do that, it would be a stretch of the rule but I would allow it. I did hear that exchange and I know the member from Beaches-East York is a fair-minded individual and would not want an unfairness to remain on the Hansard when there was an opportunity to correct it. So I've allowed that, and my recollection is the way the minister has reflected on it.

Therefore, I will also indicate to the member that he will have the opportunity to complete his 20 minutes and one second the next time Bill 151 is called for continued second reading debate.

It being a little after 9:30 of the clock, this House now stands adjourned until 1:30 tomorrow afternoon.

The House adjourned at 2130.