October 2019
Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs Moving Forward with Smart City Project

2019-10-31 2:01:29 PM

CATEGORIES: Access & Privacy

Following a vote by its Board of Directors yesterday, Waterfront Toronto has come to an agreement (or Statement of Principles as it is sometimes referred to as) with Sidewalk Labs to continue with the smart city development project on the city’s eastern waterfront. Had no agreement been reached, Sidewalk Labs would have had to leave the project. 

The agreement will instead see Sidewalk Labs develop 12 acres of land versus their initial ask of 190 acres.

There are also changes related to data as Sidewalks Lab will treat any data collected through the project as a public asset. This is a change from their original proposal of the data protected by an independent Urban Data Trust. Sidewalk Labs will therefore be considered a “vendor with no proprietary access”.

The parties have also agreed on the following:

  • Waterfront Toronto will lead a public procurement process to develop the remaining 178 acres, to be in partnership with Sidewalk Labs instead of Sidewalk Labs being the lead developer.

  • Waterfront will lead the “planning, designing and delivery of traditional municipal infrastructure, including parkers, promenades, streets and sidewalks, water and sewer (mains), instead of Sidewalk Labs designing and implementing the infrastructure.

  • Waterfront Toronto also stated it does not have the jurisdiction to approve capital funding for public transit as Sidewalk Labs express a need to build a new Light Rail Transit line to draw residents and employees to the district.


Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott, following the agreement, said that the province and other government partners will work to ensure the project is developed responsibility and "maximizes economic development and job creation opportunities". 

Both parties have until March 31st, 2020, to approve a plan for the waterfront. 

Originally announced in October 2017, the data-development project has been surrounded by controversy due to concerns on data collection and governance, privacy, transparency, and the use of public land. Recently, Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Brian Beamish, penned a letter to the Chairman of Waterfront Toronto over his concerns regarding the Trust, as well as the project as a whole, including the unclear role the City of Toronto plays. 

For more information, please see below:

Toronto Star: Sidewalk Labs, Waterfront Toronto reach deal to go forward on Quayside project

AMCTO: Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Raises Concerns over Sidewalk Labs’ Data Collection


 


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