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Taxpayers Federation calls on province to sell costly and unused Ontario Place

Author: Jay Goldberg 2021/05/27

TORONTO, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the Ford government to sell Ontario Place in light of documents showing taxpayers paid nearly $10 million between 2018 and 2020 to maintain the mostly unused property. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation obtained the documents through freedom of information requests.

“Ontario Place has been largely closed since 2012, yet Ontario taxpayers have been forced to pay millions of dollars year after year to keep the property in government hands,” said Jay Goldberg, the CTF’s Interim Ontario Director. “Instead of forcing taxpayers to pay for land we don’t use, the government should sell the land and allow entrepreneurs to help bring the community back to life.”

Taxpayers paid $9.5 million over two years to maintain Ontario Place, according to a freedom of information request obtained by the CTF. Since 2017, only 4.8 per cent of Ontario Place’s land has been open to the public.

Even though Ontario Place has been almost completely closed for nearly a decade, the Ford government says that the land should not be sold to provide housing or other private development. According to a new report from the Urban Reform Institute and Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Toronto has one of the top five least affordable housing markets in the world. 

The province has indicated that it will share potential redevelopment plans with Ontarians this spring, although the government has been promising to do so since 2019.

“Even if Ontario Premier Doug Ford does come forward with a redevelopment plan of his own, Ontario’s finances are in shambles, and the province can’t afford to revamp Ontario Place on the taxpayer’s dime,” said Goldberg. “Ford should allow businesses to put this land to use, which could help create jobs and lower housing prices at no cost to taxpayers.”