Cancel the Wasteful Gardiner East

Gil Penalosa will Open up City Land for 8,000 New Homes and Generate

$1 Billion in Savings and Revenue

A new report out today confirms that there are no contracts awarded, tenders issued or even design work completed for the wasteful $1.492 billion Gardiner East “Hybrid” project. Mayoral candidate Gil Penalosa is committing to follow best practices of cities around the world by tearing down the elevated expressway. In its place, the at-grade “Boulevard”  would open up enough land for 8,000 new homes, generating at least $1 billion in savings and real estate proceeds, while still connecting the DVP with the Gardiner west of Jarvis. 

“Every world-class city is removing their elevated expressways, yet John Tory plans to pour a billion dollars into outdated, crumbling infrastructure when people’s top priority is new housing and public services. By removing the Gardiner East, we have an opportunity to create a destination, rather than have that part of the city be just a place to pass through,” said Penalosa. “There have been no contracts signed to build the Gardiner hybrid since it was approved. This is the one time John Tory’s inaction will benefit Torontonians.”

The information released by the City of Toronto to a reporter runs counter to a statement made by John Tory at the CARP debate on October 13. This link captures 1:08.28 to 1:09 of the debate in which Tory states:

“…the last way to go about improving services for the present and the future is to go back and revisit a decision made seven years ago about the Gardiner Expressway, and on which if you stopped doing it today and stopped work that’s already underway there won’t be any money saved.”

In 2015, John Tory used misleading numbers to convince Council to vote for maintaining an elevated Gardiner Hybrid option that would shift the highway 100 metres to the north. The plan would cost $1.031 billion more than the alternative proposal of an at-grade “Boulevard.” To date, the only work underway on the project is rehabilitation on the portion of the expressway just east of Jarvis. No contracts have yet to be awarded for the more complicated – and expensive – work to rebuild the Gardiner in the new proposed configuration. That work is not anticipated to begin until 2026. 

According to the City of Toronto, the Hybrid option of the Gardiner, east of Jarvis would only save 2% of Toronto commuters an average of 3 minutes at a cost of hundreds of dollars to every person in the city, including children.

As Mayor, Penalosa will make the fiscally and environmentally responsible decision to move forward with the at-grade Boulevard option, which would open up 5.4 acres of new land with an estimated value of $450 million, according to a study done by commercial real estate firm Colliers Canada. This city-owned land could accommodate 15,000 people in 8,000 new homes.

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