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NDP call for cancellation of Ontario Place lease with Therme

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The Ontario NDP are continuing their fight to end what they call a “shady scheme” to build a luxury spa at Ontario Place.

Leader Marit Stiles said on Sunday that she will be presenting a motion in the legislature that will ask Premier Doug Ford to cancel the lease agreement with Austrian resort developer Therme and consult with the nearby communities about what the waterfront should look like.

“Ontarians know a bad deal when they see one, and they know when something doesn’t smell right,” Stiles said in a statement.

“Signing over a massive swath of public parkland for a private luxury spa for 95 years. Subsidizing it to the tune of $650 million in public money. Insiders with connections back to the Ford Conservatives looking to make a profit. Enough is enough.”

Ontario Place, located along Toronto’s waterfront in the west end, was decommissioned in 2012. Just under 10 years later the province selected Therme Canada, along with U.S.- based concert promoter Live Nation, to revitalize the property.

Therme’s development has been described as a “mega spa” with a 22,000 square-metre structure that will connect to the west island as well as a five-level underground parking garage.

The company says its facilities will include family-friendly attractions such as pools and water slides, as well as cycling and pedestrian paths. New renderings also show a marina, beach and boardwalk, in addition to the Science Centre, which the province plans to move from its home in North York to a custom-built facility along the waterfront.

The cost of moving the Science Centre is unknown, however the NDP has said that Therme’s development will cost taxpayers about $650 million.

Premier Doug Ford, however, has previously insisted that taxpayers will not be on the hook for the project.

“There's no public money in this deal...it's not going to cost the taxpayers any money outside of us owning an asset which is a parking lot and clearing the land,” Ford said at the end of April.

The NDP motion will be debated and voted on during the week of May 15. Motions are non-binding and, without the support of the Progressive Conservative government, unlikely to pass.

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