TORONTO, ON: Toronto Mayor John Tory’s plan for a downtown mega-park will cost at least $3.8 billion, which is more than double the city’s most recent estimate of $1.7 billion, according to a report released today by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
“Mayor John Tory is using the oldest trick in the book: he’s downplaying the cost of a huge vanity project to get it approved, hoping the real cost won’t come out until shovels are in the ground,” said Jasmine Pickel, the CTF’s Ontario Director. “Mayor Tory is trying to stick taxpayers from across Ontario and Canada with the bill and they deserve to know that the real cost is certain to go through the roof.”
The city is seeking money from the federal and provincial governments to pay for the park, in addition to local development charges and special levies. Meanwhile, Tory is asking the federal government for funding to help cover the costs of the recent economic downturn.
“It’s ridiculous that Tory thinks struggling taxpayers across the country should be on the hook for his pet project in downtown Toronto” said Pickel. “Why should tax money be taken from struggling bed-and-breakfasts in Nova Scotia or oil workers in Alberta to pay for a multibillion-dollar park in Toronto?”
Examples of costs excluded from the city’s original projections include the cost of financing, project management and consulting fees. Cumulatively, the report identified $2.1 billion in costs unaccounted for by the city. When those costs are included, the price tag soars to $3.8 billion and could go higher.
“Just like budgets don’t magically balance themselves, it’s irresponsible to suggest this project will somehow pay itself off down the line when costs are already double the city’s projections” said Pickel. “This is a mayor who promised in two elections that he wouldn’t raise property taxes, but he just approved a 10.5 per cent hike by 2025.
“Tory needs to be honest and recognize that taxpayers can’t afford runaway costs for a huge park in downtown Toronto.”
The CTF’s report was prepared by Cyntek Consulting, a Toronto-based engineering firm and industrial service provider with over 30 years of experience. You can find the CTF report here.