City, port ready to bury hatchet?

After years of acrimony and legal battles, the City of Toronto and theToronto Port Authority may finally be ready to make peace.
Published : November 26, 2009

After years of acrimony and legal battles, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Port Authority may finally be ready to make peace.

The key appears to be the Toronto Transit Commission’s need to get its hands on 18 acres of port authority-owned land near Ashbridges Bay to build a new facility to house streetcars.

City staff are seeking council’s OK to settle longstanding disputes with the authority while securing the land the TTC needs.

The staff report notes the city has withheld $11.7 million in payments it owes the port authority, arguing that the port authority owes the city $37 million in tax arrears.

And the city has refused to pay $3 million in “harbour user fees” — charged at the rate of $10 every time a city ferry makes a crossing between the island and mainland.

It’s good news that the TTC may be able to acquire a storage and maintenance site for new streetcars, said Councillor Joe Mihevc, a TTC commissioner.

“We need that in our possession ASAP, in order for us to be able to take the new vehicles when they come off the assembly line,” Mihevc said of the new carhouse, expected to cost $350 million.

The new cars will be about twice as long as the existing models and couldn’t be housed in the TTC’s old facilities on Queen St. and Roncesvalles Ave.

The Port Authority land is the TTC’s preferred choice among six potential locations, including 629 Eastern Ave., a mothballed film studio that was also the site of a controversial big box retail development, nixed by the Ontario Municipal Board.

 
 
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