scarborough subway

New controversy erupts over one-stop Scarborough subway

Should Toronto voters be told how much the long-disputed Scarborough subway extension is actually costing us before October's municipal election?

The city's former chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat thinks so, and she's far from alone this week as news spreads that updated figures will be available in September – but not to the public. Not until a few months after the election.

With overcrowding increasingly an issue elsewhere on the subway, people aren't happy about the presumed lack of transparency. 

TTC officials told Mayor John Tory late last year that an updated price tag for the controversial, one-stop subway would be available well ahead of election day, according to an internal briefing obtained by The Toronto Star.

However, because there are no council meetings scheduled after July of this year, city staff say they won't reveal the number until January of 2019.

"The question is, do they have a duty – if they have that number available – do they have a duty to release it as a way of informing the election and the decision- making?" said Keesmat in a CBC radio interview Wednesday morning. "My opinion is, absolutely."

The estimated cost for the one-stop Scarborough subway is already up to $3.35 billion, and some worry that the number could rise even higher by the time September rolls around.

After all, this project has already been deemed as "not a worthwhile use of money." Some groups in Scarborough say they don't even want the subway at this point. 

"We're getting on with building the Scarborough Subway Extension," tweeted Tory yesterday in response to The Star's report.

"Once staff have completed their report on the project - which includes design, construction schedules, & cost estimates - that will be made public," he said. "This is the staff-controlled process that was approved by Council."

Hundreds of Toronto residents have now replied to that tweet.

"Sorry but no this is not acceptable," wrote one. "We need to know the cost BEFORE the election."

Someone else summarized what many in the thread were getting at with this message to Tory regarding the withheld subway extension figures: "We're going to take your job for this."

Lead photo by

Steve Chui


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