The Promise Parties may be back, but where are those much-talked-about "transitional" sports fields at Cherry Beach? You know, the two that were supposed to be ready to use as practice spaces for the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) Under-20 World Cup we're now hosting?
The Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation sure made a point of pumping the soccer tourney and all the tourist cash it's supposed to kick into our economy in its PR materials pushing the need for the fields. Check the TWRC's report on its September 13 community meeting last year. It's right there on page five in black-and-white.
Despite the fields' widely publicized May completion date, the corp is now backpedalling, blaming the muck-up on "community issues," namely the extra 250 trees that needed to be felled because of greater than expected lead contamination on the site.
"FIFA organizers knew in advance that [the Cherry Beach fields] wouldn't be available," says TWRC spokesperson Kristin Jenkins. September is the new completion date.
Andrew Peck of Savecherrybeach.ca says it's no secret to locals that the TWRC, in its efforts to sell the idea of the fields, pitted people supporting soccer and more recreational facilities against those trying to preserve community parkland on the waterfront.
Meanwhile, cyclists are feeling the brunt of the resulting construction chaos. Those using the Martin Goodman Trail are forced to detour over a dangerously narrow bridge.
"The whole area is under siege," says cycling advocate Martin Koob. "What used to be a nice section of the trail is now an obstacle course. The TWRC talks about tourist attractions; well, the waterfront trail is supposed to be one."