September 14th, 2023

NDP demands Conservatives cancel sketchy Ontario Place scheme

QUEEN’S PARK— Official Opposition NDP MPP Chris Glover (Spadina—Fort York) issued the following statement in response to Ford’s Conservatives’ plan to proceed with their scheme at Ontario Place, including the imminent destruction of mature trees designed by renowned Landscape Architect Michael Hough:

"It shows how committed this government is to these shady backroom deals, especially in light of their Greenbelt corruption scandal. Here, they’re pushing forward with a backroom deal that emerged from a shady procurement process that gave a private corporation, Therme Group, control over some of the most valuable public parkland in Canada.

The entire process surrounding the Ontario Place lease has been deeply flawed and shrouded in secrecy. This 'new' footprint is nothing but a regurgitation of their old, recycled plan. Ontario Place is a public land cherished by generations of Ontarians. A 95-year lease that forces the public to pay half a billion dollars for a new parking garage, while handing over public land to a private luxury spa is wrong.

Let's be clear - this is not what Ontarians want. They have every right to be deeply troubled, given this government's track record of scandals and questionable backroom deals. The Ford Conservatives must cancel this lease and go back to the drawing board to engage in a fair and transparent process that truly respects the wishes and concerns of Ontarians."

The procurement process surrounding this luxury spa has been marred by flaws, including recent revelations from an FOI report that no fairness monitor was in place, raising serious concerns about transparency and fairness.

Glover is also concerned about the impact on the environment.

"Ontario Place’s West Island is a mature forest that provides habitat to more than 125 species of birds, as well as mink, beavers and foxes. It’s a precious greenspace in Downtown Toronto, where that is pretty rare. Just like carving up the Greenbelt, this is a real disservice to our environment and a real disservice to future generations of Ontarians.”