October 31, 2019 / 2:29 PM / 19 days ago

Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs secures conditional nod for Toronto smart city

TORONTO, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s Sidewalk Labs unit has secured conditional approval to move forward in the process to build a smart-city in Toronto, the city’s waterfront development board said on Thursday.

The directors of Waterfront Toronto met on Thursday to consider “alignment on critical issues” between Waterfront and Sidewalk Labs on the company’s proposal to build a futuristic urban development project along Toronto’s water front.

The approval means the project will go through a formal evaluation and further public consultation before a final vote on March 31, 2020 by Waterfront Toronto, a corporation funded by the city, provincial and federal governments.

Waterfront Toronto has a mandate to approve projects, although some aspects - including sales of government land - would still have to be approved by the relevant level of government.

The project has faced hurdles, as critics said Sidewalk Labs’ proposals for data usage and storage took too much from individuals, and did not create enough opportunities for Canadian businesses.

Sidewalk and Waterfront Toronto had until Thursday to resolve “threshold issues,” as Waterfront termed them, including data usage and scope, that would satisfy both parties and allowed the project to move forward toward final approval. (Reporting by Moira Warburton Editing by Denny Thomas and David Gregorio)

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