ontario place

Doug Ford's plans to redevelop Ontario Place for private spa now under investigation

The provincial government's Ontario Place Revitalization project — the cornerstone of which is the controversial Therme Spa — is now officially under scrutiny by our auditor general.

Advocacy group Ontario Place for All, which first requested such an examination last December, shared the news on Friday, saying members are thrilled that "the rushed and secretive process that is leading to the ruin of Ontario Place" is being looked into.

An open letter dated December 5, 2022, from Ontario Place for All, Waterfront for All and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario cited concerns that the Ford government's process for redeveloping the waterfront property was not adhering to environmental protection nor heritage legislation as required.

"We are requesting your oversight to assess both compliance with provincial regulation and to bring some transparency to the question of how the destruction of the cultural heritage value on this site is intended to produce value as opposed to losses for Ontarians," the organizations wrote to then-auditor Bonnie Lysyk.

"We are requesting that you use the authority of your office to shed light on the true costs and benefits to taxpayers of the Ontario Place redevelopment as well to undertake an investigation of the compliance issues connected with the Therme spa project."

Acting Auditor General Nick Stavropoulos will be conducting a full value-for-money audit of Ontario Place, as well as the Ontario Science Centre, which is due to be moved to the waterfront location despite outcry.

While his office is being tight-lipped while both are in progress, a value-for-money audit entails inspecting whether all stakeholders involved in the project "have spent money with due regard for economy and efficiency" and if the public has received (or, in this case, will receive) appropriate value for the tax dollars spent.

Lead photo by

Urban Strategies Inc.

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