February 15, 2013 6:59 am

City to extend Centreville deal to 2022

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TORONTO – The children’s amusement park on Toronto’s Centre Island will almost certainly remain in the hands of the company that has operated it for nearly five decades.

City staff will recommend council approve a renewal agreement with William Beasley Enterprises Ltd. that will give the company rights to operate Centreville until October 31, 2022. The deal gives the City an option to extend the agreement for an additional 10 years.

“We’re very happy,” says Bill Beasley, president of the family-owned Toronto company.

Financial terms are confidential until the proposal is before council on Wednesday. Beasley says the licensing fee his company pays to the City will be less but operating costs and capital investments will increase.

Ryan Glenn, manager of business services for the City of Toronto, says the new deal with Beasley includes “significant changes to the operation.”

Beasley will now be responsible for dredging the swan pond, maintaining grass, and paying for first-aid and water park attendants — previously responsibilities of the City.

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The company has also committed to investing in improvements to the amusement park beginning in the 2014 season. Beasley says this includes replacing the Sky Ride gondola attraction, renovating food concessions, and adding new water features and a swing ride.

Beasley will also take over operation of Far Away Farm. “We’re looking forward to making it more educational and hands-on,” says Beasley.

At the end of the new lease, the operator will hand over certain assets to the City. (Glenn says this will level the playing field for future bids.) Beasley says the City can assume ownership of structures but his company will not hand over rides or the Centreville concept. “It’s our creation,” he says.

The City put out a request for proposals last September, nearly four months after its lease with Beasley expired.

Five companies downloaded the RFP document but only two submitted bids — Beasley and Billy G. Amusements Inc. of Mississauga. The latter’s proposal was declared non-compliant “as a result of a Mandatory Submission Requirement not being included.”

City staff decided Beasley “has demonstrated that it has the experience in all the areas necessary to successfully operate a children’s amusement area and the Far Enough Farm on Toronto Centre Island.”

Centreville is a collection of about 30 rides and food concessions that attracts as many as 750,000 visitors during its 111-day season.

Successful bidders for two additional contracts — one to operate food services on the Islands and one to manage the restaurant at the Centre Island ferry dock (currently a Shopsy’s) — have not yet been selected.

Those contracts are currently held by Beasley.

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