Dutch Advise Toronto On Design And Planning Of Waterfront
Toronto is planning for the future. The city is suffering from outdated infrastructure, a lack of space and the incipient effect of climate change as a result of increased pressure due to an annual population growth of more than 100,000 persons. The Canadian government with provincial and local authorities made the decision to renovate the old and underutilized Waterfront at the edge of Lake Ontario in an effort to develop a new, sustainable, green and varied community. It is the largest Waterfront renovation procject in North America and one of the largest in the world.
Revitalization of Port Lands
A team of Dutch experts from Rijkswaterstaat (Public Works & Water Management), Royal HakoningDHV and the city of Nijmegen gave their advice in June of this year, commissioned by Waterfront Toronto – the implementing organization – about the Port Lands Protection Plan. Before the end of 2016 Waterfront Toronto will begin the revitalization of the Port Lands.
Canadian – Dutch bonds
Choosing Rijkswaterstaat to help with the design and planning was more than chance. Strong bonds between Canada and the Netherlands has been a constant theme since it was formally laid down in 2012 in a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (CA) and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment (NL).
The commission was announced following King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima’s visit to Canada in May of 2015 – the Dutch-Canadian Resilient Cities Summit. Following King Willem-Alexander’s keynote speech, an Influential Mission to the Netherlands was arranged for September 2015. Canadian thought-leaders and decision makers had the opportunity to see for themselves how the Netherlands addresses these water and resiliency challenges. Waterfront Toronto got to know several projects including the Ruimte voor de Waal (Room for the Wall River) project in Nijmegen, which is in line with the Port Lands case.
The visit to the Netherlands convinced the Canadians even more so of the importance and relevance of Dutch water and logistics expertise. Afterwards, the Netherlands Special Envoy for international Water Affairs, Henk Ovink, was appointed member of the Steering Committee – the strategic advisory body – for Waterfront Toronto.
The Canadian Waterfront Toronto’s assignment to Rijkswaterstaat provides more opportunity for Dutch sustainable industries at the Toronto Waterfront: Soil needs to be decontaminated, bridges and buildings built, parks and recreation areas designed, and nature reserves and wetlands created. A total of 975 million Canadian dollars has been invested in the project.