A City Councillor believes Toronto has an obligation to exhaust all possible means of keeping the Ontario Science Centre in its place.
A member motion, brought forth by Councillor Josh Matlow, seeks to explore all avenues by which the Ontario Science Centre can continue operating at its current Don Mills Road site, including the feasibility of the City itself assuming operations of the attraction. It will be tabled at today's City Council meeting.
The motion, seconded by Councillor Jon Burnside, requests that City staff submit, in the third quarter of the year, a report to the Executive Committee on the future of the facility.
The report should consider the provincial requirements, if any, in the lease with the City of Toronto to operate the Science Centre, or another public-facing attraction, at the Don Mills and Eglinton Site. It should also assess the potential revenues from event rentals should the City take over operations.
Earlier this spring, the provincial government publicly announced its intention to move the Science Centre from Thorncliffe Park to Ontario Place as part of the later's revampment, which also includes a controversial new spa, waterpark, and concert stage.
The new Science Centre will purportedly take over the existing Cinesphere and Pod complex, and will also be housed in a new custom-built, state-of-the-art facility.
Neil Lumsden, the Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, said moving the Science Centre to the waterfront is the most cost-effective way of modernizing the facility, which was built in 1969 and is in need of "costly repairs."
Once the move is made, the province said the Don Mills site will be used for "affordable and attainable housing." However, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, which owns the majority of the land on which the Science Centre sits, has said the grounds are "hazardous," and home to "sensitive habitats."
Matlow's motion noted that the Province's announcement was made "without consultation" with local residents who rely on the Science Centre for employment and education. The move would fracture the area's "burgeoning cultural district," which also includes the Aga Khan Museum.
"The cultural attraction is an important economic driver for the local community as it brings visitors from across the city and around the world to Don Mills and Eglinton," the motion reads.
"It would be a real blow to this community to lose the Science Centre just as the opening of the Eglinton Crosstown’s 'Science Centre' station is about to make the attraction more accessible to the entire city. The City of Toronto has an obligation to explore all possible means to keep the Science Centre at its current location."