More than 166,000 Brampton residents wake up each morning and drive to a job outside of the City. Through a number of initiatives, members of the Board of Trade actively advocate for more economic development and job creation in Brampton. One part of the city that is ripe for re-development is downtown Brampton, but did you know that development in downtown Brampton is restricted by a government “Special Policy Area” designation?
Much of downtown Brampton lies in a floodplain. As such, special space and height restrictions for commercial properties are in place to protect against flooding – but this also limits development and job creation.
Without flood mitigation measures, lives would be at risk and businesses would be damaged. The Brampton Board of Trade (BBOT) has advocated for the widening and deepening of the Etobicoke Creek, the replacement of bridges with large spans, and has encouraged modifications to adjacent roadways. In addition, BBOT has expressed urgency and advocated that these flood mitigation measures be expedited so that the Special Policy Area (SPA) designation can be removed.
With the lifting of the SPA designation, development restrictions could be also be lifted, bringing a number of benefits to Brampton including a revitalized downtown, more jobs, and creation of something truly visionary, referred to as “Riverwalk”.
Riverwalk is envisioned as an attractive urban promenade with adjacent public spaces and parks connected by the Etobicoke Creek valley corridor and trail system. Recently, BBOT wrote the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority (TRCA), to congratulate them on the completion of the environmental assessment – an important component of the flood mitigation strategy. Board of Trade members also encouraged the federal Minister of Infrastructure and local elected reps at all government levels to accelerate resources to finance flood mitigation measures.
Current estimates of the timeline to completion look like this: with the EA approval expected later this year, a detailed design can begin. This step would take approximately two years, followed by two years of construction. All totaled, by 2026, flood mitigation and Riverwalk construction could bring another 3.6 million square feet of retail, residential and commercial space to downtown Brampton. That means about 23,800 additional jobs and during construction – a boost of more than $1.4 billion dollars to Canada’s GDP.