(Source: The Toronto Star)

Officials at Waterfront Toronto once compared their agency to a submarine: It was moving forward, they insisted, but largely beneath the surface, so its progress was hard to see.

Today it’s fair to say that this corporate vessel dedicated to revitalizing Toronto’s derelict waterfront is finally making itself visible. Major construction is underway.

But the agency still can’t go at full speed because Ottawa and Queen’s Park won’t give it basic powers essential to doing its job. Waterfront Toronto was established eight years ago and put in charge of the largest urban renewal project in North America, but it still can’t perform elementary business functions, such as taking out a loan or creating a subsidiary.

These powers are vital if this agency is to be effective in its mission to revitalize more than 800 hectares of largely wasted land and create 40,000 new residential units. More clout has long been sought by the agency. To its credit, the City of Toronto approved giving additional powers to the waterfront agency last year. Nothing will change, however, without the support of the federal and provincial governments, and they seem leery of granting Waterfront Toronto new powers.

Read the full editorial “Give power to waterfront board” in the Toronto Star (July 5, 2009).

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