TORONTO – Rob Ford wants the CEO of Waterfront Toronto to step aside after revelations the organization spent $600,000 on a public bathroom at Cherry Beach.
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong has said the city should be able to build washrooms for half that. Waterfront Toronto, for its part, has said the price tag for the wheelchair-accessible, change table-equipped washroom included the added cost of a sanitary tank because the area lacks sewers.
The disclosure comes a few weeks after it was revealed Waterfront Toronto spent nearly $1 million on rocks and umbrellas at Sugar Beach.
“This latest example is the final straw,” Ford said. “There is something drastically wrong at Waterfront Toronto.”
John Campbell, a former executive at Brookfield Properties, is CEO of the waterfront agency.
Mark Wilson, the city-appointed chair of the Waterfront Toronto board said Campbell has the full confidence of the board and they look forward to working with him.
The mayor slammed the waterfront agency during an afternoon press conference at city hall suggesting it is nearly impossible for him to get answers.
“I have repeatedly, repeatedly said that there is a complete lack of respect for taxpayers’ money at the Toronto waterfront,” he said. “The reality is, it’s virtually impossible to get information from Waterfront Toronto.”
The washrooms at Cherry Beach were openly tendered as part of a competitive bidding process, Wilson said.
Waterfront Toronto disclosed the costs of the umbrellas and rocks at Sugar Beach during an executive committee meeting earlier in July.
“We are a very accountable, open and transparent organization. We have been audited 14 times by the different levels of government,” Wilson said.
In a statement Wednesday, the armslength body noted it’s “directly accountable” to both provincial and federal ministers, and to city council.
“Every year Waterfront Toronto obtains the approval of all three levels of government for its annual capital plan, including the priority projects and budgets,” the statement reads.
“In 2009 the City of Toronto confirmed that Waterfront Toronto’s information disclosure policies meet or exceed those of the City’s.”