MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam removes fencing around Ontario Science Centre, politicians urge reversal of closure

As opposition parties urge Premier Doug Ford to reverse the closure of the Ontario Science Centre, NDP MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam took matters into their own hands, taking down one of the fences outside it.

Toronto NDP MPP Kristyn Wong-Tam took matters into their own hands as opposition parties work to urge the provincial government to reverse the decision to close the Ontario Science Centre.

Following press conferences held at the Don Mills location, Wong-Tam and others broke through some fencing surrounding the science centre.

A police officer quickly blocked it, at which point Wong-Tam said, “I don’t think people will be kept outside this by just the fence. This is a very large community … it’s just not fair to them.”

NDP leader Marit Stiles said Thursday they would continue to pressure the government to reverse the decision.

“[We will] work with the community to show [Premier Doug] Ford that he can’t get away with this, to show him that he can’t just eliminate these high-skilled, good jobs right here in a community where families and kids need this centre.”

She added Ontarians have a right and a say in what happens to the iconic institution.

“This is a political choice by this government,” Stiles continued. “We would be so much better off if we didn’t neglect our public institutions and our infrastructure if we invest to ensure they were properly maintained and repaired.”

Liberal Leader Crombie vows to hire special investigator if elected as Premier

Stiles said the outpouring of support for the building speaks to what a special place it is.

“Educators, philanthropists … I’m sure they were inspired by what they learned and saw here at the science centre. It goes to it speaks to what a special place this is. And also, I have to say, it also speaks to how important the workers are that animate that space.”

Liberal leader Bonnie Crombie has vowed to hire a special investigator if elected to investigate some of the Ford government’s controversial moves, including the closure of the science centre.

According to a report, the more than 50-year-old building is at risk of potential roof panel failure due to this winter’s snow load. However, several politicians and community groups have urged the government to fix the roof rather than close it.

The original architects of the building offered their services free of charge and said the report makes it clear that closing the building is unnecessary.

OPSEU, the union representing 350 workers at the Ontario Science Centre, announced earlier this week that it had received more than 50 layoff notices for food service workers. OPSEU’s president said the union would fight the closure.

The province is currently looking for a temporary home for the science centre while the new one is built at Ontario Place.

Infrastructure Ontario posted a “Request for Proposal” for interested parties to bid on Wednesday. The Ford government wants to “expeditiously source an interim site of approximately 50,000 — 100,000 square feet of retail/commercial space” for the temporary site. 

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