UPDATE: Monday, April 16, 2012
I am writing to plead for the reopening of Ontario Place, and to state why I believe Ontario Place is worth so much more than what is being presented. I am very disturbed by the lack of public notice, and any plan including blueprints of what (if anything- owned by The Province of Ontario) will be there after 5 years of a graveyard on the shore of our Nation’s most populus city. These facts that should be available and widely discussed include actual & current financial statistics, the fact that they did not give notice re: due process for employees, possible environmental impact, effect on the shoreline and water animals, cost to the community in loss of; tourism, jobs, history, demolition and transportation of 1000’s tones of waste, garbage fees. What happened to teaching our children to "Reduce, Reuse & Recycle"???
When I heard the news, I immediately phoned the Premier’s office in tears. I also attended the rally held at the Main Gates of OP on the 25th of February with my mother and 2 single adult male friends of mine. I have no union affiliation. I am a 33 year old woman, with no children of my own. I have been a seasons pass holder for 7 years- except last year as everyone was refunded while the idea to get more attendance through free admission was used.
There is no public transit to Ontario Place. I think often about how hard it must be for the elderly, disabled and those with small children to walk so far from the C.N.E. streetcar stop, to OP where there is 40 hectares more walking to do. Many people are low income especially in the inner city where rent is @ an all time high and can barely afford entertainment, but the OP pass was perfect as it gets people out by the lake in the fresh air, and also into the C.N.E for free too.
The park has not recently been a great attraction to single adults although I know adult single pass holders who attend as is. However last years addition of a new concert venue ‘Echo Beach’ in participation with Live Nation would bring free and affordable concerts to OP, a new water slide, a new 3D projection system and upgrade of the interior of The Cinesphere, and my personal favourites the addition of the lounge pool (I have been talking about the need for that there for years), the new beach, the Eco Centre & program which brough the park to 0% waste and new green spaces allocated- are all steps toward including everyone including our planet. The seasons pass is marketed at a lower price if you buy 4 or more which also dissuades some singles and small families- how about making it $50 all around?
The government claims that Ontario Place is losing over 20,000,000 a year, but in reality OPSEU claims the average "loss" (BEFORE applying Provincial operating and property tax grants) is just over 6 million.
For example, Dwight Duncan would have people believe that OP is losing as much as 20 million a year, but after reading the OP 2009 annual report, Joe Halstead, the Chair of the OPC Board slated the loss at 36 thousand dollars after grants and ammortization. There is a big difference betwee 20 million and 36 thousand! If the Ontario Government is deliberately trying to mislead (its a better term than lie) the people so they can sell off the land to rich land developers, this is going to become front page news.
Another example is that attendance levels for 2011 were said to be as little as 300,000 by Jonathan Jenkind in the Toronto Sun, 563,000 according to Christina Blizzard of the Toronto Sun, and approx, 1 million by the Ontario Place Board.
There needs to be a comprehensive public review by someone who can understand and uncover the real numbers here so we can counter this unbelievable campaign of misinformation that is being diseminated by the Ontario Government.
The 20 million dollar figure is in relation to the requested investment for this year, to follow the previous year’s 10.8 million dollar investment that would bring the park to world class, state of the art facility like it has not been for decades due to mismanagement and disrepair.
Seasoned executive John Tevlin had been selected as the new General Manager of Ontario Place. His appointment followed an open recruitment process and took effect September 1, 2010.
Tevlin has extensive experience in marketing, operations, strategic planning and general management. His experience includes leadership roles in both the tourism and culture sectors, including President of the CN Tower (which was experiencing big losses before his term) and the Royal Conservatory of Music Examinations. Past positions have also included Director of Operations (East Africa) and Director of Marketing (Middle East) for Pepsi-Cola International.
A recipient of Canada’s initial Top 40 Under 40 award, Tevlin is also a Co-founding Partner of MJM Consulting which specializes in bringing innovative ideas to market.
This man’s vision and ideas, and the community’s needs and best interests, were enough for the current government when they invested 10.8 million of Ontarian’s tax dollars in Ontario Place for the season of 2011, Tevlin’s first season as GM. I believe that Ontario Place should open its gates this summer and the Provincial government should follow through on its recent & large investment (almost $1 tax payer dollar per resident of Ontario- even the ones too young to pay taxes) at least one season!
A casino or condos or any type of privatization of the landmark is unethical and devious. It is short sighted to sell it off for a one time gain. It is short sighted to create a graveyard of children’s dreams, family togetherness and love for our water and nature. To let rot, a gem on the shores of Lake Ontario and red carpet of Toronto, to have tourists see a decrepit amusement park like something out of a horror movie, as they come to the lake shore to enjoy a concert at Molson Amphitheater, visit the C.N.E. or use the Martin Goodman Trail.
I am opposed to the closure of Ontario Place, at the very least until a plan for the future, including blueprints and enviromental assessments are concrete and made public. I propose Ontario Place be kept open for the 2012 Season so it and the fellow Ontario shareholders, the people, can see what an amazing turnaround is just about to happen.
I would like to be personally contacted in regards to the report you, John Tory are preparing to be assured that all voices are being taken into consideration, to give you my personal view, and to be involved in altering the outcome of this travesty.