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Doug Ford is in hot water again after shocking taxpayer cost of controversial project revealed

Though one could argue that there isn't a day that Doug Ford isn't getting hate from his constituents lately, the premier is being called out especially hard this week after more details about his highly-disputed Ontario Place Revitalization project emerged — specifically, about the damning cost to taxpayers.

Advocacy group Ontario Place for All today issued a detailed review of the funding for the Therme Canada megaspa slated for the waterfront property, which residents have been protesting for months.

According to the financial probe, more than an unbelievable $650 million in taxpayer cash is going toward the spa alone, with only 30 per cent of the necessary investment coming from the Austrian wellness brand itself.

The organization stated in its release that "the projected taxpayer costs to subsidize the [Ontario Place] project could balloon to well over a billion dollars," adding that it "is not aware of other private spas or waterparks in Ontario being subsidized by taxpayers."

"Despite promises of transparency, the public has not seen the business case that supports these numbers. Nor has the public seen proof that this is a wise spending choice for Ontario taxpayer dollars," it continues before calling once again for the spa portion of the revamp to be cancelled.

Residents shocked by the staggering investment are chiming in to compare it to things like Ford's paltry support of a healthcare sector that many feel is being gradually and internationally defunded and privatized, leaving hospitals understaffed, handfuls of emergency rooms shuttered, and millions of citizens without a family doctor.

Local politicians are also expressing outrage over the multi-million figure, with one video on the subject from Spadina-Fort York MPP Chris Glover — in which he points out that the taxpayer cost is indeed going to be closer to the $1 billion mark — going particularly viral.

"At no point in this process has the government been transparent, at no point did they consult with the community before decisions were made," Glover was filmed saying in a recent committee meeting.

He also quoted Therme executives who said their main reason for not considering other locations suggested for the complex, such as Exhibition Place or Marineland, was the "cheap rent" offered by Doug Ford himself.

"In fact, it's not just cheap rent — the estimated cost to taxpayers is $650 million, plus the plan to demolish the current Science Centre and move it... is at least $300 million. So we're up to a billion tax dollars that are being spent on this project and there has been no proper public hearing," Glover said.

In response to the news, the Ministry of Infrastructure has pointed out that as part of the new deal forged between the Province and the City of Toronto in the fall, the City "accepted that the Province has the authority to advance the rebuilding of Ontario Place."

It also says it has consulted with thousands of stakeholders on the project.

"Our government is bringing Ontario Place back to life, with construction underway. Our focus is delivering an iconic, year-round, family-friendly destination that will welcome visitors from across the GTA, the province and the world," a spokesperson reiterated in a statement to blogTO,

Ontario Place for All did just celebrate a small win in court at the end of March when the Superior Court of Justice shot down the province's attempt to quash OP4A's request for a judicial review into the project's lack of environmental assessments.

Lead photo by

@fordnation/X


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