CBC: Ontario Place group seeks court injunction to pause redevelopment
Ontario Place for All takes legal action to stop the destruction of West Island
Auditor general probing Ford government’s Ontario Place redevelopment: CBC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3rd, 2023
Ontario Place for All Welcomes Auditor General Audit of Ontario Place
Ontario Place for All welcomes the audit of Ontario Place and the Ontario Science Centre, and hopes the Auditor General will shine a light on the opaque and rushed processes that have led to the imminent destruction and 95-year giveaway of Ontario Place’s West Island for a MegaSpa, as well as the demolishing and diminishing of the Ontario Science Centre.
“At a time when emergency rooms are overwhelmed and there is a critical need for affordable housing, how do Ontario taxpayers and residents benefit from well over half a billion in corporate welfare going to support a private spa? I’m hopeful that the Auditor General can shine a light and help us understand what’s in this rushed and opaque deal for Ontarians,” says Norm Di Pasquale, Co-Chair of Ontario Place for All.
Last year, three community-based organizations (Ontario Place for All, Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, and Waterfront for All) with an interest in the future of Ontario Place filed a request with the Auditor General of Ontario to conduct a value for money audit and a compliance investigation in connection with the Therme spa proposal. The groups are looking for clarity as to how the public costs associated with the project line up with the potential benefits.
The Ontario Place development application filed with the City of Toronto confirms that massive subsidies have been extended to Therme, an Austrian spa group that has a conditional lease from the Province to turn the West Island of Ontario Place into a franchise of its European commercial spa operations.
In addition to an estimated $200 million in costs for servicing and site preparation, the Province has committed to providing an additional 2000+ parking spaces by building a 5-storey underground garage, which on the edge of Lake Ontario built on lakefill is actually an underwater garage. It has been suggested the cost for that could run to $450 million. Behind the scenes, an extraordinary amount of provincial staff time has gone into preparing the complex rezoning and development application on behalf of Therme. We suspect these estimated amounts will likely be higher, and hope that the Auditor General’s audit will confirm.
Since the request was made almost one year ago, Ontario Place for All has grown into a movement of Ontarians from all parts of the province and from all political backgrounds. With more than 35,000 letters sent to political decision makers about this important part of our future waterfront, the group is committed to protecting this amazing resource for our children, our children’s children, and beyond.
The groups have also asked for a compliance investigation looking at whether the province is also offside the Ontario Heritage Act, Environmental Protection Act, and the Environmental Assessment Act. The letter to the Auditor General can be found in the below link:
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Norm Di Pasquale – Co-Chair, Ontario Place for All
Join us for Sunday in the Park on the West Island at Ontario Place – an open invitation to drop by the park every Sunday in November 2-4 PM! On November 5th the fire pit at Lookout Point (see below map) is rented for folks to come by.
Join us outside Queen’s Park on Monday October 16th from 2:30PM-4PM as we rally to support the upcoming motion in the Ontario Legislature to terminate the Therme lease at Ontario Place! Signs, posters, placards etc are welcomed! If you would like to attend Queen’s Park at 1PM to hear the motion debated in the member’s gallery, send us an email and we’ll work to get you on the list! There is also room in the visitors gallery, first come, first serve. Let’s pack Queen’s Park, both inside and outside!