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Great Lakes Article:

Toronto starts work on $1.5B waterfront

London Free Press

TORONTO -- Work has begun on a $1.5-billion project to wrap the city's waterfront in a 46-kilometre bank of parks, shops and hotels, producing what the city's mayor says will be the longest developed waterfront on the planet.

"It will be 46 kilometres to be proud of," Mel Lastman said at a news conference yesterday to launch the project.

"It's going to be the largest waterfront in the world."

A portion of the Lake Ontario harbourfront is now lined with million-dollar condos, and was once a vacation spot for Diana, the late Princess of Wales.

But there is another more desolate section of Toronto's waterfront known to locals as Tent City, where squatters are camped on land contaminated with PCBs, arsenic and lead.

Officials want to clean up that and other industrial areas of the waterfront, saying it will beautify the area, attract film and television productions and create jobs. They are also hopeful a revitalized waterfront could play a role in winning a future Olympics, should another bid be launched.

All three levels of government will pay for the project, but at least one city politician says that is misguided.

That kind of money would be better spend building shelter for the homeless, than on pretty building bandshells and lavish shopping concourses, says Coun. Michael Walker.

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