Aug 24, 2020
In May, Sidewalk Labs, a Google-affiliated company, announced it was abandoning a plan to build a high-tech neighbourhood on Toronto's Port Lands. The so-called "smart city" dubbed Quayside was set to feature a range of cutting-edge technology, from residential towers made of timber to the use of autonomous cars and heated sidewalks. The company had initially claimed the project would create 44,000 jobs and generate $4.3 billion in annual tax revenue. The final straw for Sidewalk Labs is alleged to have been the economic uncertainty that made it difficult to make the 12-acre project financially viable. Brian Kelcey, a public policy consultant and founder of State of the City who who actively spoke in favour of the Sidewalk Labs Quayside project as a VP of the Toronto Board of Trade, discusses the situation with John Michael McGrath, a staff writer at TVO who covers provincial politics and policy matters and has written extensively about Sidewalk Labs.