Jun 24, 2019

By Maria Madden

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Sidewalk Labs has released its vision for a substantial new development on Toronto’s eastern waterfront that is facing criticism for its ambition and overreach.

Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront is seen in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Sidewalk Labs *MANDATORY CREDIT*

The plan sets out what Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Google parent-company Alphabet Inc., hopes will be a blueprint for urban development that will incorporate the latest concepts in building design, mobility, sustainability and inclusivity.

The more than 1,500-page plan goes into detail about its proposal for the 4.8-hectare Quayside site, but also outlines its concept for an entire 77-hectare eastern waterfront district.

Waterfront Toronto, a partnership between three levels of government that is now reviewing the proposal, has already raised concerns about the scope of the plans.

Steve Diamond, chair of the Waterfront board of directors, says in a letter that the wider concept is “premature,” while also raising concerns about Sidewalk wanting to be lead developer at Quayside and requiring government commitments on several key matters before proceeding.

The development, which would incorporate extensive surveillance technology, has also come under criticism over privacy issues that Sidewalk hopes to ease through the creation of a independent trust to oversee data collection and use.

(The Canadian Press)

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