City council approves $10 million financing plan to expand BMO Field

Watch above: City votes to loan $10 million to MLSE in hopes of making a profit. Mark McAllister reports. 

TORONTO – City council voted 39-3 in favour of supporting a $10 million financing plan to expand BMO Field.

Only Mayor Rob Ford, councillor Doug Ford and Mike Del Grande voted against the proposal Thursday morning.

The agreement would have the city loan $10 million to Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) and have it repaid over 20 years with interest.

“This is a proposition that sees the city lending $10 million and being paid back $14 million,” said councillor Adam Vaughan.

“We have an opportunity here to, without taxing people, to make $4 million for taxpayers.”

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The executive committee approved the stadium funding model last month with Ford casting the lone No vote.

MLSE wants $10 million from each of the three levels of government and plans to spend $90 million itself to expand the city-owned, MLSE-operated stadium.

READ MORE: Stop Liberal handouts to MLSE, Drake: critics

Although Ford said he supports TFC, he doesn’t believe taxpayers should have to foot the bill for stadium improvements.

The plan is to increase the soccer capacity from 21,500 to 30,000, with the potential to add 10,000 more temporary seats for special occasions. The planned renovations also call for a roof over the stands.

Expanding the stadium was needed to accommodate the CFL’s Argonauts, a requirement for the city to kick in the $10 million.

READ MORE: MLSE boss has choice words for Rob Ford over BMO Field reno plan

The Ontario opposition parties are also calling on the province not to support the funding model.

The governing Liberals, who are facing a $12-billion deficit, are still considering the proposal.

-with a file from The Canadian Press


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