Ontario Place advocacy group files court injunction to halt re-development plans

Vocal critics of the planned makeover of Ontario Place gathered at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, with an advocacy group filing a court injunction against the Doug Ford government over the re-development.

The organization Ontario Place for All announced that it is taking legal action to stop the proposed developments at Ontario Place, which include a mega spa.

The advocacy group filed an application with the divisional court seeking an injunction to block the Ford government from proceeding with the West Island redevelopment plan and requiring a full environmental assessment to be completed before the spa’s development.

“Ontario Place for All is committed to using all possible avenues to hold the provincial government accountable for their actions at Ontario Place and ensuring that they follow the proper process, which would involve public consultation on the West Island redevelopment,” said Norm Di Pasquale, Co-Chair of Ontario Place for All.

“This filing is one of those avenues. We just want the government to follow its own laws.”

The Ontario Place plan has faced opposition from some community groups and public members. The government-funded parking garage for more than 2,000 cars and the long-term lease with European company Therme for a $350-million spa and waterpark have been particularly criticized.

Community members have also condemned the government’s proposed plan to clear-cut 800 trees on the island, arguing it would harm the area’s ecosystem, including what Ontario Place for All refers to as the destruction of the existing approximately 36,000 square meters of aquatic habitat.

The province has promised to replace trees that are chopped down and re-locate mature trees when possible. Ontario’s auditor general has since launched a pair of audits into the Ford government’s redevelopment plan.

The new science centre is set to be about half the size of the current one, but the government maintains it will have more exhibition space. Construction is set to start in 2025, with its opening scheduled for 2028.

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