Waterfront Toronto's makeover of Queens Quay won't be completely finished for this summer's deadline, forcing the agency to take temporary measures so the street can be used during the Pan Am Games.
News of the delay was made public at a Waterfront Toronto board meeting Wednesday and is the latest problem for the multiyear project that has been plagued by delays and is close to 40 per cent over budget.
While most of the 1.7-kilometre section of street along the harbour will be ready by June, extra work by Toronto Hydro at the foot of Rees Street means the intersection won't be done for the summer. Instead of the planned granite walkways, concrete paving stones and trees, the area will be given a temporary surface that will be ripped up and replaced, likely in the summer of 2016. Eighteen temporary hydro poles also will be taken down at that time.
Waterfront CEO John Campbell said the project has been "very problematic," in large part because of the work of others.
"The fact that we now have to defer a small part until after the Games is a function of Toronto Hydro saying, now wait a sec, we want to put more ducts in a certain area. What are you going to do?" he said.
Mr. Campbell said the intersection will be "presentable" for the Games – a description board chair Mark Wilson challenged.
"It will be more than presentable. It will be spectacular," Mr. Wilson said.
Both men said it is too soon to say if the delay will push the project further over budget. "We don't know. We have to look at that. It really depends on Hydro's performance," Mr. Campbell said.
A spokesman for Toronto Hydro said Waterfront Toronto was told about the extra work in November – one month before the agency announced the cost of the street makeover had jumped to $129-million from $93-million.
The extra work is part of the utility's long-term planning and is in response to additional load requirements to service the area, spokesman Brian Buchan said. Asked why the changes were made so late in the project, Mr. Buchan said the utility was unable to gain access to the area until November after TTC work was completed, and only then determined additional work was required.
Toronto Mayor John Tory called the delay "unfortunate." He met with Waterfront Toronto board members last week, he said, and described them as "very serious about learning lessons" from the experience at Queens Quay.
"In the end it went way over budget and it won't be completely ready on time," he said. "I think there's a lot of lessons to be learned out of Queens Quay, but hopefully they will make it look nice for the Pan Am Games."