Statement: Toronto Port Authority seeks to work with the City of Toronto on the future of 5 Eirann Quay (the Canada Malting Silos)
The Toronto Port Authority’s (“TPA”) President and CEO Geoffrey Wilson issued the following statement in response to the City of Toronto’s proposal to designate 5 Eirann Quay as a Heritage Building:
“The TPA would like to work with the City of Toronto (the City) to establish a vibrant waterfront in the Eirann Quay area. This includes new recreational and mixed-use opportunities for families to enjoy.
“The City has proposed to designate the buildings and land at 5 Eirann Quay – the Canada Malting Silos – as protected under the Ontario Heritage Act. Unfortunately, the City moved forward on this proposal without consulting the TPA.
“This property was transferred to the City in 1992 by the federally owned Harbourfront Corporation. Prior to the transfer, the TPA’s predecessor, the Toronto Harbour Commissioners (THC), entered into an agreement with the Harbourfront Corporation in 1986 called the Umbrella Agreement.
“The Umbrella Agreement acknowledged the THC had the right to be consulted and help determine future uses of this property, due to the proximity to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
“In 1990, the Harbourfront Corporation and the THC entered into another agreement that licensed a portion of the 5 Eirann Quay property to be used for surface parking and drop-off and pick-up of those using the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (BBTCA). This is known as the License Agreement.
“The City’s Heritage Act designation proposal does not acknowledge either agreement, among other encumbrances on the property. If the designation is approved, it would mean these two agreements would be superseded and effectively nullified.
“The TPA would like to discuss this proposal with City officials and come to a solution on how to achieve our shared goals of revitalizing the waterfront at Eirann Quay, but without overlooking existing agreements and protected legal rights.
“The Umbrella Agreement allows the TPA to construct a 400-vehicle covered parking garage on the site in question to serve the BBTCA. The TPA has no immediate plans to build such a garage. Our preference is to work with the City to improve shuttle bus and public transit links to the BBTCA. But we cannot let the City overlook our previously established legal rights and agreements in an attempt to constrict future business opportunities.
“Due to the existence of these two agreements, the TPA is quite certain that the City’s heritage designation proposal will not pass the judicial test. So we would like to save the taxpayers’ money and come to a resolution that will achieve everyone’s goals. The TPA believes that a reasonable compromise would be fairly easy to attain.
“We would like to sit down with the City and continue our recent progress and mutual understanding in our commitment to facilitate development on the waterfront. We made great strides in that direction in late 2009 with the ‘Macro Settlement Agreement’ that ended years of disagreements over funds owed to each body and resulted in the transfer of valuable property to the City to house a new TTC streetcar maintenance facility.
“ The TPA believes that 5 Eirann Quay can receive a Heritage Building designation, but first the City needs to acknowledge the TPA’s legal rights and accommodate them appropriately.
“In order for this discussion to take place and these legal issues to be resolved, the TPA has been required to file an objection to the City’s proposal, effective today. We look forward to resolving this amicably