Councillor pushes club tax
A controversial plan to introduce a levy on Toronto nightclubs that usepublic sidewalks to queue customers is still very much on the table,according to the outspoken politician who first introduced the measure.
A controversial plan to introduce a levy on Toronto nightclubs that use public sidewalks to queue customers is still very much on the table, according to the outspoken politician who first introduced the measure.
Coun. Adam Vaughan (Trinity-Spadina, Ward 20) told Metro in a recent interview that plans introduced last year to impose what some are calling a sidewalk tax on clubs is proceeding as planned and has the backing of Mayor David Miller.
“The reality is that these nightclubs generate an extraordinary burden on the city — 36,000 hours of litter pick-up alone comes from the fact that these clubs exist in this 12-square block area,” Vaughan said of the nightlife establishments operating in the Entertainment District.
“The business that creates this cost is the business that’s going to pick up the cost for it. It’s a user fee and if they want to curtail the costs, then they can clean up their behaviour. It’s that simple.”
But it may not be, according to a spokesman in the mayor’s office.
Stuart Green, Miller’s deputy director of communications, said while other businesses that utilize public sidewalks — restaurants with patios, for example — pay a fee to do so and that perhaps a similar charge would be appropriate to levy on clubs, the mayor’s office has yet to take a position on the issue.
“Before any such fee could be implemented,” Green said in a statement, “there would have to be a solid case for doing so, and so far we have not seen that case made.”
Despite an outcry from some local businesses and even some on city council in opposition to the proposal, Vaughan has been steadfast in his insistence that the levy be imposed strictly on nightclubs to recuperate the extra costs of policing the Entertainment District on weekends, as well as the cost for extra EMS, fire and waste disposal crews.