Toronto's public works committee has shut down work on a pedestrian bridge that would link two neighbourhood to Fort York, calling the $23-million project too expensive.

The S-shaped bridge was to be completed for next year's War of 1812 bicentennial.

Supporters of the the Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge said it is a key waterfront renewal project and would link to a network of parks and promote local business.

The project was approved in the 2011 budget but the public works and infrastructure committee still had to grant approval to the construction contract.

Councillor David Shiner introduced a motion to find a cheaper alternative, and it passed 4-2. The project had been criticized by council conservatives after costs ballooned from $18 million to $23 million.

"You want to connect the people there, but at what cost? I have a lot of concern that we're so financially tight -- just think about what that $23 million could do for bridge rehab, for road repair; think of the community centres it could fix up, of the children's services and child care centres it could provide," Shiner said Tuesday. 

Councillor Mike Layton – whose ward encompasses the project – was visibly upset at the vote.

"You killed the whole thing," he yelled at Shiner.

The city has already spent $1.3 million on the project.

The bridge would link Fort York to Stanley Park over the GO railway tracks.

An online petition called "Save The Fort York Pedestrian Cycle Bridge" has been launched.

It says the bridge would have been on par with London's Millennium Bridge.

Mayor Rob Ford wanted the project shut down when he was a councillor.

Layton said he saw Ford as behind Shiner's move.

Layton said the Ford administration has a tendency to take good plans and shut them down.