Waterfront Toronto has extended the date for a decision on moving forward with the Quayside, Sidewalk Labs project due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The deadline has been moved to June 25.
Waterfront Toronto is also extending the deadline for its online public consultation survey.
The original deadline for approval for the project was May 20. The motion to extend the deadline was passed by Waterfront Toronto’s board of directors Thursday afternoon. The meeting was held over video conference, as Waterfront Toronto offices are currently closed due to the outbreak. Waterfront Toronto is also extending the deadline for its online public consultation survey to April 9.
According to The Logic, a human rights review on the implications of Sidewalk Labs’ plan was expected to be released on April 9. The impact assessment is aimed to help the tri-government agency address questions and identify potential risks and mitigation strategies with the Quayside project. Element AI was chosen to conduct the review in mid-January because Waterfront Toronto said the Montreal-based startup had the right technical capabilities to asses the evaluate the risks of Sidewalk Labs collecting data.
This is the second time the approval deadline has been pushed back. The first deadline was extended from March 31 to May 20 in late January. That extension was intended to allow the public “more time to offer input into Waterfront Toronto’s evaluation of Sidewalk Lab’s proposals for Quayside.”
In October, Waterfront Toronto agreed to move forward with Sidewalk Labs, but with several revisions to the company’s initial proposal. Last month, the panel advising Waterfront Toronto on the development of Quayside, endorsed the majority of Sidewalk Labs’ innovation proposals but rejected 16 of 160 proposals.
Sidewalk Labs’ proposal has been met with persistent controversy since the project was proposed in 2016. Prominent former Waterfront Toronto advisors, like Ann Cavoukian, have withdrawn from the project and criticized it over privacy concerns.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and Block Sidewalk also oppose Sidewalk Labs’ development over similar concerns regarding privacy. The CCLA and Waterfront Toronto are still in the midst of a lawsuit.