August 14, 2014 6:45 pm
Updated: August 18, 2014 4:12 pm

Brookfield accused of taking bikes locked to city property


Watch above: Mark McAllister finds outs if Brookfield was right in seizing the bike.  The above video has been fixed to properly identify one the people interviewed. 

TORONTO – A Toronto woman says her bike was taken from the corner of Yonge and Bloor by security guards who claim it was locked to private property.

But the local councillor says the pole where Lisa Ferguson locked her bike – only to panic on finding it gone 90 minutes later – belongs to the city.

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Ferguson says she locked her bike to a TTC sign outside the Bloor Street entrance to the Bay department store Wednesday afternoon, then returned from a meeting to find it gone.

“I walked up and down the sidewalk for several minutes, not accepting that this was really happening,” she wrote on Facebook.

When she asked if she could inspect footage from a nearby security camera that would have caught the theft, she says, a security guard told her he “cut some bikes” on owner Brookfield Properties’ instruction because they are on private property.

“He said it was private property and I find that hard to believe,” she said in an interview Thursday. “We’ve just measured the space and we believe this is public property. As a citizen, I just expect that the sidewalk is public property.”

So does local councillor Kistyn Wong-Tam.

But if Brookfield continues to confiscate bikes, Wong-Tam thinks they should at least post a sign.

“I think we need to ensure at least a courtesy sign is posted alerting people if they park there it could be removed. Perhaps it should not be removed by a private company,” she said.

Brookfield issued a statement on Facebook Thursday afternoon claiming it’s security guards are allowed to take bikes parked outside:

“We have free exterior and interior bike racks at Hudson Bay Centre in Toronto, as well as a secure bike storage facility within our garage. As adjacent property owner, we have the right to remove a bike or otherwise affixed object to property and the TTC pole on the sidewalk outside of our building if it poses a perceived risk to pedestrians. It is our first and foremost responsibility to protect the health and safety of our tenants and all those that visit the building. There have been numerous instances at this location where pedestrians have tripped over or have otherwise been injured by bicycles affixed to the pole.

We apologize to anyone who believed their bike was stolen and in the future endeavor to provide either a verbal or written warning before removing a bike or other property from a prohibited area.”

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