Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021
Toronto, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is sounding the alarm after a shocking email from Toronto’s budget and finance department revealing that Rail Deck Park is currently more than "99.9 per cent unfunded.”
“Toronto’s broke, but now we find out Mayor John Tory and city councillors have zero plan to pay for their multi-billion-dollar park pipedream,” said Jasmine Moulton, Ontario Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “In Canada, you’re not even allowed to buy a cheap house to live in with less than five per cent for a down payment, yet Toronto plans to undertake a multi-billion-dollar project with less than 0.1 per cent of the funding figured out.”
The city plans to build Rail Deck Park in the air above the railway lines on the west side of Union Station. The city has estimated that the park will cost $1.7 billion, but the Canadian Taxpayers Federation released a report showing that it will cost at least $3.8 billion. That means, in actuality, between 99.999 per cent and 99.9995 per cent of the project is unfunded.
Tory confirmed that the city will move ahead with plans for the park despite the city’s precarious financial situation in the wake of COVID-19. The city also plans to ask other levels of government to fund the project, according to a city document outlining next steps for implementation.
“The federal government’s debt just surpassed $1 trillion, while Ontario’s debt is on its way to $400 billion,” said Moulton. “Tory’s delusional if he thinks other governments can afford to pay for his extravagant pet project or that Canadian taxpayers outside of Toronto would want to.”
City hall’s email stated that the only funding currently in place for Rail Deck park is less than $2 million for planning work on the project in 2021 and 2022, included under the city’s 10-year capital plan.
“Tory and the rest of city council should do the responsible thing and abandon their reckless plans for this unfunded sky-park boondoggle,” said Moulton. “Moving ahead with a multi-billion-dollar project with no plan to pay for it means it will be paid for through tax hikes for years to come.”
Ontario Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation