Urban Defender

Urban Defender: Doors Open 1

Monday, May 30, 2005

Doors Open 1

It was nice to see Union Station in its gentle state of disrepair and borderline decay this past Doors Open Weekend. Why because despite all the hand wringing, the yelling and screaming, the accusations of scandal and the musings of the aging Yoda of old fashioned “reform” (yes Mr. Sewell), the City has actually got a plan that is going to work: that is restore the station to its former glory and add lots of new public transportation space (a new GO Concourse for example) and new commercial space al.

And this is going to be done yes by a dreaded P3 but one that will save Toronto’s beleaguered property tax payers $150 million in costs that Union Pearson Group will have to fork over on the gamble (and UD wishes them well) that they will make money out of it over an admittedly long term lease. And they probably will but at this point there is no viable alternative whatever one might feel about Public Private Partnerships in general.

This P3-type deal, which of course sees Union Station stay in public hands, despite its highly problematic origins that did give some encouragement to conspiracy theorists and ranters everywhere, has actually come out, at almost the end of the beginning, with something good, workable and necessary. Indeed a rare victory for the City in the current climate where the municipal fiscal imbalance seems to all-too-often mean that "nothing can get done."

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