Sole-source lease claims get smell test
George Smitherman said rival Rob Ford voted for a sole-sourced, long-term lease to a company that runs food concessions in the west end. Ford said he voted only for a report.
Claim: George Smitherman said rival Rob Ford voted for a sole-sourced, long-term lease to a company that runs food concessions in the west end. Ford said he voted only for a report.
Background: As Ford accused his competitor of doling out $10 million in sole-sourced contracts while at Queen’s Park, Smitherman launched his own attack. “On the issue of sole sourcing, you were the swing vote in allowing Grenadier restaurants recently to gain a 15-year extension, sole-sourced, for their contract at the city of Toronto,” Smitherman said.
Ford replied, “There’s no deal signed at Grenadier … It’s a report that’s coming back. It’s not going to be a sole-sourced deal.”
The Grenadier Group holds exclusive food and beverage vending rights for the Western Beaches, as well as for High Park. The city had asked Grenadier to devise a proposal by which it would pay to retrofit the last remaining Joy Oil Station, a heritage property the city relocated to the Western Beaches in 2007.
Instead, Grenadier offered to turn Joy Oil into a year-round restaurant and pump $3 million into the Sunnyside Pavilion and concessions in exchange for an extension on all its agreements to 2031. Council approved negotiating this deal, despite staff recommendations to put the site up for bidding or negotiate a 15-year contract with Grenadier for the Western Beaches only.
Ford soon came under fire from other councillors for supporting the deal.
Smell test: Both candidates are speaking half-truths. During an August meeting, council voted 20-18 to start talks with Grenadier, with Ford supporting the motion. Technically, the deal still must be approved by the next council.
But the negotiations are also much more than the “report” Ford suggests (in fact, by his vote he rejected the existing report’s recommendation to seek alternatives). Instead, the decision lays the groundwork for an untendered extension being signed in the new year.