No promise of funding additional parking by Ford government in Ontario Place development document

New details coming to light about what the Ford government is promising private companies when it comes to parking at a redeveloped Ontario Place.

While the Ford government has not disclosed any details of its long-term lease with Therme, the Austria-based company which was given a 95-year lease to build and operate a water park and private spa at Ontario Place, Ontario’s acting auditor general said Wednesday the deal binds them to provide a number of dedicated parking spaces for the spa between 2028 and 2030 or face a financial penalty.

CityNews has obtained the 2019 Call For Development (CFD) for Ontario Place, which sets out the parameters companies needed to consider when making an application to develop the waterfront theme park. The document shows that while the Ford government is obligated to provide 1,200 parking spaces to LiveNation for its Budweiser Stage, there is no mention of building additional parking, let alone a 2,100-car underground parking garage.

“Participants should consider the adequacy of parking for their development concept,” reads the CFD.

The document points out there is approximately 1,270 surface parking spaces on site shared between all users, an additional 5,150 surface parking spaces and 1,300 underground spaces across the street at Exhibition Place, which is owned and operated by the City of Toronto. The CFD also notes there are plans for long-term development of parking lots in the northwest area of Exhibition Place as part of an expansion of the Direct Energy Centre.

As for what kind of financial support the government is willing to provide any potential bidders, the document says it will not make any financial contributions towards “the design or construction of any proposed facilities” or “the design, construction or maintenance of any public or private realm that is part of the development concept.”

“Think about the other 37 bidders who were told they would get no additional parking, how is that fair for them?” said Norm Di Pasquale with the advocacy group Ontario Place For All. “This is not fair, not just and not right.”

Infrastructure Minister Kinga Surma says the province has now agreed with the city of Toronto to move the Ontario Place parking to nearby Exhibition Place.

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report

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