Wednesday, April 20, 2005

On the Waterfront

Tony Ianno's win during the 2004 federal election was credited by many to the waterfront condo owners in the southern part of Trinity-Spadina.

One wonders if they were aware that Ianno was one of the co-conspirators behind the creation of the Toronto Port Authority, a federal body that appears to have made a mission out of fleecing Toronto taxpayers and destroying Toronto's waterfront.

The Port Authority was key in promoting the Island Airport bridge and expansion, and in generally holding back efforts to revitalize the waterfront. At a community meeting in June 2004,
"Tony Ianno was the only one who defended the Port Authority. He said it “had an important role to play”. Mr. Ianno worked with fellow Liberal MP, Dennis Mills, to co-found the Port Authority in the late 1990s. This was done despite a promise from the federal Transport Minister of the day that Toronto would retain control over its port, as have many other municipalities. The federal takeover of Toronto's port and some 415-acres of prime waterfront land, formerly controlled by the City of Toronto was against the wishes of City Council. And in late 2002, a near unanimous vote of Council reaffirmed a desire to see the port lands (including the Island Airport) and operations returned to City control."
One of the Port Authority's primary pasttimes appears to be suing the City of Toronto. A 2003 editorial in eye magazine notes:
"Shortly after its inception in June, 1999, the TPA sued the city of Toronto for $1 billion (Toronto's entire annual budget is $6 billion) to compensate for lands handed over to the city by TPA's municipal predecessor, the Harbour Commission. It wasn't until this past June that the case was finally laid to rest for a hefty $49 million. Two weeks ago, in an attempt to dissuade city council from revoking its approval of the fixed link to the island airport, Harbour Master Lisa Raitt threatened another massive lawsuit that could reach into the hundreds of millions in addition to reopening the recent settlement. Though a meeting Dec. 8 between the TPA and the mayor's office seemed to calm down the litigation rhetoric, cancelling the bridge will still certainly cost us money. That's on top of the agency's annual budget shortfall of $4 million the city pays."
Even the right-wing National Post has questioned the rogue nature of the Port Authority, noting that it continued to spend millions of dollars on the Island Airport Bridge project even after Toronto City Council, and even Prime Minister Paul Martin, said that the project would not go forward. Most recently, the TPA embarassed Canada by failing to construct a terminal for the Toronto-Rochester ferry project.

So, Tony Ianno and his buddy Dennis Mills were basically responsible for the creation of a rogue agency which has cost the city millions and does more harm than good to Toronto's waterfront redevelopment. Imagine how much higher waterfront property values would be, if the waterfront were not such a mess. What were those condo owners thinking?


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