Ontario passes motion to bypass committee hearings on new Ontario Place legislation

Proposed public spaces and waterfront attraction: Therme Canada | Ontario Place (CNW Group/Therme Canada)

Ontario Construction News

The Ontario is planning to bypass debate and public hearings for a bill to redevelop Ontario Place.

Legislation introduced this week would allow the province to take control of two Toronto highways, exempts Ontario Place land from a full environmental assessment and gives the infrastructure minister the power to issue minister zoning orders that overrides local laws.

The motion that passed allows the government to skip committee hearings where the public can provide input, and skips debate on the third and final reading of a bill.

The province has said it must reach certain milestones on the Ontario Place redevelopment set out in a contract with private companies and one of those deadlines is approaching at the end of the year.

However, the auditor general’s report released Wednesday says the decision to move the Science Centre to Ontario Place was based on “incomplete costing information” and made without full consultation, the province’s auditor general says.

Auditor general Nick Stavropoulos said the province’s business case for moving the Ontario Science Centre may be incomplete, as it did not include all possible costs associated with the creation of a new facility.

“In our review of the cost/benefit analysis, we found that costs for both options were not fully identified and determined,” the report said.

The business case suggested the government could construct a new, smaller facility at Ontario Place that would repurpose the existing pod and Cinesphere structure already at the site for about $387 million.

However, the auditor general notes this cost doesn’t include financing, or transaction and legal costs under the public-private partnership model to design, build and maintain the new science centre.

It also doesn’t include the cost of a fabrication facility, which constructs exhibits for both the Science Centre and for other clients. The business case released by the government said there were nine areas that could be leased for this purpose, to the cost of $420,000 to $690,000 a year.

With files from Canadian Press


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