Massive Waterfront Development is Underway in Mississauga Near Port Credit

After years of talk and anticipation, it looks like the city's ambitious Inspiration Lakeview project is coming together.

This past weekend (Sept. 24), there was a free celebration to kick off the start of the Lakefront Waterfront Connection Project and now an extensive report detailing plans for the evolving space has been released.

To say that the project is a large scale one is an understatement -- it is a monumental (but ultimately incredible) undertaking that will transform a relatively unremarkable swath of land into a sprawling hotspot filled with protected green space, a 1.5 km beach and housing for up to 20,000 people.

Here’s a rendering to give you an idea:

When it's complete (and that will take time, make no mistake about that), the area will redefine a huge portion of the city's waterfront area and, ideally, attract national and international attention.

The project is the brainchild of city councillor Jim Tovey and has been in the works since it was first proposed to the Planning and Development Committee in June 2014. The Inspiration Lakeview Plan is essentially a vision for the area's future designed with input from residents, stakeholders, the province and Ontario Power Generation (OPG). The area that's set to be revitalized is 99 hectares (245 acres) in size and includes the site of the former Lakeview Generating Plant.

Currently an industrial area, the project envisions a new space that will function as a world-class urban waterfront community. Once completed, the area will boast a continuous waterfront that will connect residents to Lake Ontario and its shoreline. It'll also provide generous green and blue spaces, create a new urban street and block pattern that will connect neighbourhoods within and adjacent to the area, bring transit to the site and create a cultural hub at the head of the pier where people can gather to enjoy arts, culture and community activities. In terms of jobs, the area is slated to become an "employment and innovation" corridor with a green technology district located between the G.E. Booth Wastewater Treatment Facility and the new community. Ideally, the area will attract research and development jobs.

In terms of structure, the area will be divided into four precincts: Rangeview Estates, Ogden Village, Cultural Waterfront and the Innovation Corridor.

Rangeview Estates will function primarily as a residential area, boasting low-rise townhouses, horizontal multiple dwellings (stacked and back-to-back townhouses) and mid-rise buildings. Taller buildings may be built if appropriate (so a 15-storey structure is a possibility), and retail locations will crop up along Lakeshore Rd. E and in other key areas. Mid-rise apartment buildings will sit on Lakeshore and all north-south streets that intersect with it.

The Ogden Village area will be located in the heart of the community and will boast a range of buildings of various heights. It'll function as an urban space and offer commercial establishments, making it the area's central retail hub and key thoroughfare to the waterfront. As far as housing goes, it'll offer low-rise towns, stacked and back-to-back towns, mid-rise and taller buildings.

The Innovation Corridor area will be located on the eastern boundary of the Lakeview Waterfront Area and will be home to a high-tech green campus that will accommodate offices, businesses and research and development activities.

The Cultural Waterfront area will be located along Lake Ontario at the southern end of the site and give the public access to the waterfront. This area will have pedestrian streets, outdoor cafes, skating rinks, splash pads, programmable spaces and buildings that can house art galleries, museums, markets and other cultural businesses and institutions.

Now, in order for all of this to come together, the area must be tested for environmental safety. Once testing is complete, the city will know which areas are in need of a cleanup.

At this point, however, the extent and cost of environmental remediation is unknown.

Unknowns aside, the plan is exciting. Should cleanup be successful, the rejuvenated area will offer residents 7,000-9,000 new jobs and bring 15,000-20,000 people to the community. The city has said that development will be phased to ensure that growth is managed responsibly (it wouldn't bode well to not have sufficient infrastructure in place for thousands of people). Should transit become an issue, the planned density of the area will be reduced accordingly.

While planning is still in its infancy and the unknowns are plentiful, the city is working towards making the dream a reality and that, at the very least, is encouraging.

As for whether or not the project will look exactly like the plans, no one can know that at this stage. But, we all know that, "if you build it, they will come," and that alone is exciting.

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