Thames River the focus of redevelopment plans
There are big plans for development along the Thames River.
The vision for the riverfront is contained in two city reports.
One details how the city will transform South Street Hospital lands into an urban village.
The ideas in a new planning report are welcomed by the So-Ho Community Association.
“It's really brought to light what the community has wanted and I think it will really set a new legacy for that property,” says the association’s Tanya Park.
Once demolition is completed, the city is proposing a four-phased redevelopment in order to maximize the property’s value.
It would be a mix of high-rise condos, townhouses and stores, all connected to the Thames River.
“I think its innovative for our community. I think it’s at the cutting edge of what Canada does when it does something innovative,” says the city’s Jim Yanchula.
The report isn't just about tearing down the old to make way for the new. One of the development concepts includes incentives to have developers maintain two additional heritage buildings on the north side of South Street.
“We really want to see those buildings retained so we need to find a use for them,” says Park. “We've reached out to community organizations and asked, ‘Hey can you use a space like this?’”
The London Community Foundation is also presenting a proposal to the city next week.
The foundation is planning a contest for a design on a redeveloped waterfront that would take submissions from around the world.
The river is a huge part of London’s history.
“We have gone out into the suburbs and expanded our community footprint, but I think we have lost sight of the beauty and the opportunity we have,” says the foundation’s Martha Powell.
The foundation believes it will take about $500,000 to implement the river project. They would raise half of that amount and ask the city for $50,000. It is hoped community partners would provide the rest.
The contest would take submissions on how best to utilize the river.
The strategy would look at two different sections of the river: Oxford to Adelaide Streets and Wellington to Adelaide Streets.
However, some are a little hesitant as the plan is light on action.
“The community should continue to be excited. The city sees it as a priority to revitalize the Thames, but we have to be careful we don’t do so much planning we forget to work,” says Coun. Joe Swan.
The foundation says they’ve had good response to the project.
To fully redevelop the Thames would take 20 years, but if this gets approval, the contest would be up and running in a year.