Waterfront Toronto budget an example of incapable government: Tory
TORONTO – Mayor John Tory is more concerned about the reasons and lack of transparency around spending by Waterfront Toronto than the recently announced budget overruns.
Waterfront Toronto issued a news release on Thursday indicating the Queen’s Quay Revitalization Project was $36 million over budget. The budget increased from an estimated $93.2 million in 2011 to the current $128.9 million – an increase of 38.3 per cent. The final price tag still isn’t known.
“If you look at the reasons why the cost overages took place…one of them is what you always see in these things – change in scope of the project. And it would be no different if people out there were changing their own home renovation project guidelines three or four times during a renovation. What’s going to happen? The time table’s going to be thrown out the window and the budget’s going get thrown out the window.”
Waterfront Toronto cited a variety of “challenges related to soil and groundwater conditions, aging infrastructure, unforeseeable underground obstacles, harsh winter weather and other issues” as reasons for the overrun.
The mayor says this is just one more example of the “incapability” of government. Tory became somewhat animated when he said, “We are not going to go on this way.”
Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan Wong has been newly appointed to the Waterfront Toronto board of directors and Tory says he expects Minnan-Wong will hold the board to account.
“Transparency is also an issue that concerns me,” said Tory. “It’s public money and the public have the right to know as soon as is reasonably possible that there are problems.”
The release from Waterfront Toronto indicated the overruns were apparent in Dec. 2013 and the increased budget was approved by the board of directors in Feb. 2014. The overruns were not made public until Thursday.