The firm led the urban design and landscape study for the Port Lands Acceleration Initiative (PLAI). The Port Lands are a unique and valuable asset for the City of Toronto, both to advance its status s a dynamic global city and to create a great new waterfront district.The PLAI study focused on identifying a financially viable strategy to realize the full potential of the 840 acre site. The costs of flood protection and required infrastructure for future development are a challenge. The study identified ways to phase the revitalization process and involved a review of the Lower Don Lands Planning Framework and proposed changes to the plan to the renaturalized river. Outcomes of the study have included:
- an updated open space framework, including the phasing of the construction of a naturalized river mouth tied to development and flood phasing;
- the identification of precincts including the character and density associated with each precinct, requirements for parks and other community facilities within the plan area;
- a mobility plan; and,
- infrastructure requirements and phasing.
A significant public consultation process was undertaken as part of this review; it included four well-attended public meetings, web-based information and outreach. Two working groups were established: a Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) comprising area and City-wide residents associations and a diverse range of environmental, business and public interest groups; and a Landowners and Users Advisory Committee (LUAC) comprising Port Lands landowners, tenants and users of the Port of Toronto.
In addition, many groups and individuals were consulted separately over the course of the study.
The steps to advance the recommendations of the Port Lands review involve the finalisation of the DMNP EA, the adoption of the modified plan through the appropriate planning mechanisms, the initiation of detailed precinct planning throughout the Port Lands and the establishment of landowners groups to formalise cost sharing strategies.