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Mixed reaction for new ‘Parkshore’ community plan for western beaches

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Imagine the western portion of Toronto’s waterfront as a place to live. A Toronto-based planner has come up with a creative solution to develop land between Humber Bay Shores and the Exhibition grounds. But while the new look community hits on all the buzzwords aimed at transforming the city, some say this isn’t the place to put it.

Brent Haynes is the young designer with the master plan. Encompassing 30 acres and stretching 1.4 kilometres along the Lake Ontario shoreline, the Parkshore Development Area features a blend of residential, retail, entertainment, and hotel amenities, interwoven with new parkland that seamlessly connects to the existing network of parks, bike trails, and beaches along Humber Bay.

“An exciting piece of land that is just underutilized and with the road cutting right next to it and the huge buffer land between the boulevard and the highway, it’s just parkland that’s not being used,” says Haynes, who has put more than a year of his own time into the project.

The plan, however, would also mean moving Lake Shore Boulevard closer to the Gardiner Expressway.

“If we just shift the road and utilize all that new land, now you can actually have functioning park space maybe use that for new homes and make a nice exciting new community on the water,” he explains.

However, some of those strolling through the proposed Parkshore development area on Saturday were split when presented with what Haynes’ idea would look like.

“I think this is beautiful as is, especially in the summertime, keep it and not have buildings,” said one person. “There’s already enough buildings everywhere else.”

“I think it looks really good. A new community for people that has space for scenery,” said another.

Creating a community with public squares and picnic enclaves in this part of the city comes with some problems, including traffic and access to the lake. Transit is another issue. But Haynes contends there would be ways for people to come and go and for all to enjoy the experience.

“That would be great for the city, great for tourists, great for new homeowners to come here and live. I think it would be an excellent spot to do that,” he says.

While the Parkshore plan isn’t an official plan or proposal, it is another idea up for discussion when it comes to changing the face of the city.

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