Ontario Place looks like the set of some futurist film about an apocalyptic wasteland. The pods sit empty, the small children’s village has been shut down for 17 years, and the winter light offerings are more meagre than an average suburban street at Christmas. Tumbleweeds might as well be rolling down the unoccupied paths on the west island.
The problem is that governments make bad landlords. For proof, consider the Auditor General’s report that found the government spent $19 million in 2016-17 to maintain over 800 empty buildings. Ontario Place is just one of many neglected government properties. It received an over $2 million operating grant from Ontario taxpayers in 2016, the most recent numbers available. And operating expenses increased by more than $1 million between 2016 and 2015.
Solution - Ontario - Place - Navel - Gazing
The solution for Ontario Place is to develop it and sell it. Stop stalling with intergovernmental navel gazing and get private developers building shops, restaurants, and, yes even condos, that will make Ontario Place a living community again.
The Ford government announced a comprehensive redevelopment of the site with an Expression of Interest process beginning this spring. But the Ford government has already taken two important options off the table. Ford will not consider the sale of land and will not allow the construction of residential buildings.
Prohibition - Homes - Torontonians - Inexplicable—why - People
The prohibition on new homes for Torontonians is inexplicable—why shouldn’t people live at Ontario Place? John Tory, before he was mayor, saw the logic of having residential living as part of Ontario Place’s redevelopment. He included it in the 2012 revitalization plan that he created at the request of then premier Dalton McGuinty. Having residential living near the site makes more sense than having an abandoned government-owned amusement park that is inaccessible by transit.
On the land ownership, the Ford government’s decision not to allow the sale of land...
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