Province fast-tracking Ontario Place redevelopment with eMZO

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The provincial government will fast-tracking the redevelopment of Ontario Place through the use of a powerful planning tool, Infrastructure Minister Kinga Surma said last week.

An enhanced minister’s zoning order (MZO) will enable the province to override Toronto’s planning policies and processes.

“To ensure the Ontario Place rebuild continues without delays, our government made an enhanced Minister’s Zoning Order (eMZO) to provide development permissions for new and existing land uses at Ontario Place,” Surma said in a news release.

The release describes the eMZO as a land use planning tool that will allow the province to maintain site plan control for portions of the site and make “much-needed improvements” to the publicly accessible open space on Ontario Place’s East Island.

Also, the order, posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario on May 17, allows the creation of “expanded public spaces and parks on the West Island.”

The government says it has four objectives:

establish land use permissions for the entire site
establish detailed development permissions (i.e. height, gross floor area, and setback requirements)
exempt some parts of the site from municipal site plan control
direct that the City of Toronto’s Official Plan cannot prevent the issuance of any licence, permits, or approvals for Ontario Place

Plans for the Ontario Place site include a new massive spa and indoor water park, science centre and more than 20 hectares of green space and beaches.

Earlier this month, Infrastructure Ontario also released a Request for Qualifications to begin the procurement process to identify a team that will design, build, finance and maintain the new Science Centre.

“To ensure the Ontario Place rebuild continues without delays, our government made an enhanced Minister’s Zoning Order (eMZO) to provide development permissions for new and existing land uses at Ontario Place,” Surma said. “The eMZO is a land use planning tool that will allow the province to maintain site plan control for portions of the site and make much-needed improvements to the publicly accessible open space on the East Island as part of the rebuild of Ontario Place.

“The eMZO will also allow for expanded public spaces and parks on the West Island.”

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