NEWS
03/31/2016 18:31 EDT | Updated 04/01/2017 01:12 EDT

Eastern Gardiner redevelopment plan approved by city council

City council approved a redevelopment plan for the eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway late Thursday afternoon.

Council approved the Hybrid Alternative Design 3 by a wide margin.

In a high-profile vote last summer, council opted for a hybrid option for redeveloping the aging Gardiner east of Jarvis Street that maintains some of the elevated expressway.

On Thursday, council approved one of three designs that were put forward — the one that is also the most expensive. According to a city report, the estimated capital costs for the design are $718 million.

This design pushes the portion of the Gardiner that runs east of Jarvis Street farther north compared to the other two options, opening up more waterfront land for development.

Coun. Gord Perks voted against the hybrid plans, citing environmental concerns.

"Given what we know about climate change, it's impossible we'll be relying on the automobile to the same extent as we do now 100 years from now. So I just can't in good conscience vote for any of the options," Perks said Thursday after the vote.

"I think we should let sanity prevail and take that portion of the Gardiner down."

In a high-profile vote last June, city council narrowly approved a hybrid Gardiner, which was endorsed by Mayor John Tory. In the process, council rejected a proposal to tear down the easternmost portion of the elevated expressway and replace it with a boulevard.

Tory said then that the hybrid plan "puts the people of the city first."

At the time, Coun. Pam McConnell, who represents the ward the highway cuts through, opposed the hybrid plan, as did the city's chief planner and medical officer of health.

Construction work on the project isn't set to start until 2018 at the earliest.