TORONTO - It has been a month since Sidewalk Labs, a division of the Google monolith, presented an upgraded proposal for its development of a 12-acre site on Toronto’s Eastern Port lands. Theirs is now one of 196 acres, with a community of edifices composed primarily, if not exclusively, of mass timber structures – including some as tall as 18 stories.
They promise enticements of investments of $1.3 billion, innovative manufacturing, jobs in the thousands and showpiece neighbourhoods in a part of Toronto that has been a contentious afterthought where three levels of government frequently act out their frustrations with each other.
The City is studying the proposal. The Waterfront Toronto Board, responsible for overseeing development and providing initial recommendations for going forward is being cautious (as of yesterday, they had not responded to phone requests for comment). It’s a work in progress.
That hasn’t stopped others from expressing views and taking initiatives. Yesterday, the Ontario Minister for Natural Resources, John Yakabuski, announced a $5million participation in a $32 million project for mass timber (a cross laminate manufacturing plant) in St. Thomas proposed by Industry Leadership at Element5.
Frank Dottori, its president said in a statement: This is a significant investment in the Ontario forestry industry, job creation, housing, innovation and technology, and the environment in the form of green building practices. This is a significant investment in the Ontario forestry industry, job creation, housing, innovation and technology, and the environment in the form of green building practices.
Mr. Dottori ranks at the pinnacle of experts in the Forestry sector. I knew him when he was president of Tembec, a giant in the forestry industry in Ontario. It seems that, at the age of 80, he is as robust as ever.
Along the way, he appears to have picked up influential allies from the Carpenters District Council of Ontario: Tony Iannuzzi, Executive Secretary Treasurer, and Mike Yorke, President of the Carpenters District Council of Ontario and Director of Public Affairs &Innovation.
In the site, and in today's (25 July 2019) newspaper, we publish an article by Mike Yorke about the opportunities offered by the development of mass timber sector.