QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Jennifer French (Oshawa), Official Opposition critic for Infrastructure, reminded Ford about basic economics in Legislature today, raising questions about his half-baked plan for the Ontario Science Centre.
According to the Science Centre’s 2019-2020 Business plan, the 10-year maintenance costs for the Science Centre were $147.5 million, far less than the cost of even the Premier’s proposed $450 million parking garage at Ontario Place. Somehow, the Premier insists that an entirely new building for the Science Centre will cost less.
“The Minister says the Science Centre is falling apart, but their past business plans say nothing of the sort,” said French. “To make matters worse – Ford’s Conservatives have been depriving the Science Centre of the required maintenance for years. The Science Centre needs investment and repairs, not a half-baked plan with zero community consultation.”
Infrastructure Ontario is the Science Centre’s landlord, according to the Ontario Science Centre’s 2022-2023 Business Plan.
“Maybe [The Premier] doesn’t realize that being a good landlord and doing the necessary repairs is far less costly than a new building,” said French. “No one believes that this sudden interest in the Science Centre has anything to do with the Science Centre. With Infrastructure Ontario as the landlord, the Ministry could have chosen to fund the needed repairs - but has not. The solution is funding and investment, not abandonment.
“Ontarians are asking - what exactly is the Premier’s plan for the Science Centre and what will it cost Ontario? It seems to change every day. This Premier and Minister of Infrastructure are painting the Ontario Science Centre and its architecturally significant building as a tear-down – it is not. I encourage folks and families to visit them and explore and enjoy the exhibits.”