Google affiliate scraps plan for Toronto smart city project

AP International News
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TORONTO (AP) — Google said Thursday it is abandoning its smart-city development in Toronto.

A unit of Google’s parent company Alphabet had been proposing to turn a rundown part of Toronto’s waterfront into a wired community, but Sidewalk Labs chief executive Dan Doctoroff said in a statement that it is no longer financially viable.

“As unprecedented economic uncertainty has set in around the world and in the Toronto real estate market, it has become too difficult to make the project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan,” Doctoroff said.

Sidewalk Labs had partnered with a government agency known as Waterfront Toronto with plans to erect mid-rise apartments, offices, shops and a school on a 12-acre (4.9-hectare) site — a first step toward what it hoped would eventually be a 800-acre (325-hectare) development.

Heated streets would have melted ice and snow on contact. Sensors would have monitored traffic and protect pedestrians. Driver-less shuttles would have carried people to their doors.

But some Canadians balked at the privacy implications of giving one of the most data-hungry companies on the planet the means to wire up everything from street lights to pavement. Changes were since made to make it more palatable.

“We concluded that it no longer made sense to proceed with the Quayside project, and let Waterfront Toronto know yesterday,” Doctoroff said.

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