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City tribunal decision keeps Rail Deck Park proposal alive

An artists rendering of what the proposed Rail Deck Park would look like over the GO Train and Via Rail tracks downtown. CITY OF TORONTO

Mayor John Tory’s vision for a Central Park-style project to be build over the rail corridor from Blue Jays Way to Bathurst Street appears to be back on track.

The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal has dismissed an appeal of the City Council approved Rail Deck Plan above the GO Transit and Via Rail tracks downtown.

The Tribunal noted that the Rail Deck Park is a “bold proposal” which helps address the parkland deficiency in downtown Toronto, calling it a “transformative city-building project which will be recognized on the world stage.”

Craft Development Corp., who claims to own the air rights over the tracks, had proposed a design that included nine buildings – seven of which would be residential, one commercial and one retail – leaving 12 of the 21 acres as green space.

Councillor Joe Cressy, who two years ago said the development proposal was “dead on arrival”, said Thursday’s decision means the area can only be used for a park – no new towers, no parking, just parkland.

Mayor Tory called the Tribunal decision good news for the city and its future.

“This reaffirms the City’s initial intentions to make this land available for an important community development that will ultimately be a very popular park.”