Phase two begins at Port Union waterfront development

The snow has melted allowing this couple to walk down phase one of the Port Union waterfront development.

It may not look like much right now, but work has started to transform the muddy strip of forested waterfront east of Port Union Road into what will eventually be a beautiful paved pedestrian pathway.

That new path will feature cobblestone beaches and lookout points leading all the way down to the Rouge River.

This is phase two of the Port Union waterfront development project and its $14 million price tag represents a significant investment in the community, officials say.

“I think it’s going to be a tremendous amenity for the neighbourhood. Phase one already is and phase two will be even more so,” said Connie Pinto, project manager for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, who adds some of the details may change as the park is constructed.

“We were speaking of a boardwalk as you reach the beach. It will have to be discussed as construction progresses,” Pinto said.

The idea of improving the Scarborough waterfront is well-received in the neighbourhood, but some residents have suggestions for improving the park that are not currently part of the TRCA’s plans.

Jonathan Sawchuk has lived in the Port Union area for 21 years and though he enjoys spending time near the water, he finds the park somewhat inaccessible.

“There is very little parking that I can find that is near to the park,” Sawchuk said. “It’s not close enough for me to walk there but I don’t like to have to search so hard for a place to park my car.”

Pinto understands that sometimes parking is not as clearly marked as it could be, but says there are no plans to include “amenities” such as extra parking.

“The project area is designated as green space. There is no parking south of the railroad tracks,” she says.

Pinto was unable to comment on potential commercial development of areas surrounding the waterfront trail.

“Once we have built it, the city of Toronto manages it,” Pinto said.

The Port Union waterfront area should become a real hot spot to chill out near the water in the summer months and a fun place to enjoy the outdoors all year round.

Project completion is set for 2011.