Executive Committee to Metrolinx, we expect better for Kodak Lands

The Kodak lands at Black Creek Drive and Eglinton have sat empty for many years. Speculation regarding the future of this property has been a constant since Kodak sold it to developers Metrus for $19.5 million in 2006. Metrus sat on the property until 2012 then sold it for a cool $48 million to Metrolinx (yes, we’re all in the wrong business). When an announcement finally came about developing the property, many residents were dismayed to learn that plans were to make it the home of a maintenance and storage facility (MSF) for light-rail vehicles that will (Ford brothers permitting) be using the Eglinton LRT Crosstown Line.

The Kodak recreation building.
The Kodak recreation building.

Metrolinx sees Mount Dennis and specifically the Kodak lands as a future transit hub that will provide links to GO, the U.P. Express and the crosstown line. Their vision includes an LRT line incorporating the old Kodak Recreation building and the Scotiabank building at Weston and Eglinton as well as new parkland and the contentious storage facility. The Toronto Star has an article that dwells on the heritage aspects of the site.

Once citizens heard of the new plans for the site, many were dismayed by the stark vision offered by what seemed to be a marshalling yard. Instead of generating jobs and perhaps providing parkland and a retail component, the site seemed destined to have a grim future. Protests were registered resulting in Toronto’s Executive Committee updating a series of ‘principles’ that were passed by the full council yesterday (October 8th). These principles can be summarized as follows:

  1. Consider a broad range of uses for the site rather than just an MSF.
  2. Minimize the land used by the MSF while maximizing development elsewhere.
  3. Seek further input from a broader section of the community.
  4. If future MSF needs decrease, explore appropriate alternative uses.
  5. Preserve existing ’employment lands’ especially along Industry Drive.
  6. Use innovative ways of accommodating grade differentials of the site.
  7. Create seamless transitions between the site and adjacent areas.
  8. Employ professionals to use excellence in design throughout.
  9. Preserve and incorporate the Kodak recreation building and the Scotiabank premises at Weston and Eglinton into plans for the site.
These changes have been effected through direct citizen involvement in the political process. With a civic election due next year, now is an ideal time to keep applying the pressure. Although Metrolinx is fond of telling everyone they are a provincial agency and not obliged to listen, the Liberals are in no position to have another contentious issue on their plates.
Let’s keep up the pressure.

One thought on “Executive Committee to Metrolinx, we expect better for Kodak Lands”

  1. Community action and City Council agreed! This is good news, especially with the we-won’t-raise-taxes except when we-have-to-raise-taxes to spend money on 2 subway-stops-for-10-years-from-now requires it stranglehold on what passes for city planning at the moment.

    The Kodak lands could be a great resource, and this is a step forward: hooray!

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