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City on verge of obtaining port lands for $345-million TTC facility


TTC, Toronto Port Authority reach deal on land for light rail vehicle storage.

The Toronto Transit Commission’s new Ashbridges Bay light rail vehicle storage and maintenance facility will be located at Lake Shore Blvd. E. and Leslie Street.

DAVID NICKLE | Nov 26, 2009 - 1:11 PM

Complicated agreement worked out with Toronto Port Authority

The Toronto Transit Commission’s new light rail vehicle storage and maintenance facility will settle in at Ashbridges Bay in the next few years, if Toronto Council approves a complicated settlement agreement with the Toronto Port Authority at its meeting next week.

Once the deal is ratified, it will mean the TTC can go ahead with the $345-million light rail facility that must be built by the time Toronto starts to take delivery of new light rail streetcars.

It marks a relief for film industry workers and community members in Leslieville, who were fearful the TTC would have to use the old Toronto Film Studio lands on Eastern Avenue for the site.

That site was the second-place favourite for the TTC, and if the location at Leslie and Lakeshore Boulevard had not been viable, the commission would likely have selected the film studio lands, which are adjacent to residential neighbourhoods and other working film studios.

“I think it’s great news,” said Paula Fletcher, the councillor for the area. “We have a good site for the LRV - and it’s what the whole community thinks is the best site. This is the first piece of good news in what is hopefully the second era of our relations with the Toronto Port Authority. People didn’t think it was possible. I’m very pleased with this level of settlement, that this will be able to move ahead. It’s good news all around.”

The confidential agreement, a copy of which was obtained by Toronto Community News, will see the city send about $5.66 million the Toronto Port Authority’s way, and in doing so settle various outstanding disputes between the federal agency and the City of Toronto.

The longest standing dispute comes from an agreement over the ownership of about 600 acres of land in the port lands, which in 2003 the port authority agreed to turn over to the city. The agreement stipulates the city owes the Port Authority a total of $11.7 million for the consideration.

But the city in 2005 voted to withhold payments, because the city maintained the port authority owed payments in lieu of taxes to the city on other properties. Currently, that number stands at $6.42 million.

Under the settlement agreement, the city and the authority will pay what each says the other owes, and the city will pay about $380,559 in outstanding harbour user fees for the city’s ferry service.

And finally, the city will, for a nominal sum, obtain the lands at the south-east corner of Lake Shore Boulevard East and Leslie Street.

The site is about 18 acres, and owned by the Toronto Port Authority. The city is using it currently as part of the Ashbridges Bay Sewage Treatment Facility.

The TTC has not yet made a final decision on whether to locate at the site and will do so at a later date.