The city of Toronto has pushed back completion of the Union Station Revitalization Project, once again, to the end of 2019.
The new deadline comes one year after city council approved an additional $23 million to fund the long-criticized project, with the promise that it would be completed in 2018.
The money was handed over, but hardly any of it has been spent.
CityNews has obtained internal budget documents that show as of Dec. 31, the city had only spent $2.2 million of the $23 million they were given last year.
“It’s not to say it won’t be spent. It absolutely will be spent,” said Brad Ross, City of Toronto spokesperson.
Ross says the money will cover the rest of the project, and services are paid for as the city is billed for completed work.
But, Ryerson accounting professor Richard Deklerk says the completed work is taking unusually long.
“Any additional money: it’s like guys, get it done. They haven’t,” said Deklerk. “They’re still sitting on most of it. And that’s the stuff they asked for last year. If you tell me, ‘Hey, I need another $20 million to finish something,’ spend it, get it done, show me something tangible.”
The project was supposed to be completed in its entirety in 2015, but it has already been delayed four years.
Commuters are fed up and are looking for transparency.
“You’re inconveniencing people every day, and I think most people are willing to say that’s the price of progress, but it would be nice if they were a little transparent,” said Ben Hendricks, a commuter making his way through Union Station.
“Big projects like this are constantly shifting for various reasons – remember it’s an operating environment,” said Ross.
“So, the project and project team are continuously looking to get to a state of completion but then recognizing there are some of these other issues at play.” added Ross. “But, there will be substantial completion as described by the end of this year.”