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Will Union dough show?

There was a sense of déjà vu floating around Toronto City Hall this week after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty pledged in the budget speech that the landmark Union Station would finally be revitalized.

There was a sense of déjà vu floating around Toronto City Hall this week after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty pledged in the budget speech that the landmark Union Station would finally be revitalized.

It’s not the first time the federal government has committed money for the key commuter hub, whose cracked floors and crowded concourses testify to how previous commitments worked out.

In June 2000, then-transportation minister David Collenette, a Liberal, announced at a news conference with then-mayor Mel Lastman that Ottawa would put up $25 million to preserve heritage and other elements of station.

The money never arrived.

The federal government’s pledge was withdrawn after Ottawa demanded the station have its own board of directors, but the city insisted on retaining control.

“The $25 million was not provided to the city,” finance spokesperson Cindy Bromley said yesterday. “The money did not flow.”

The city, which acquired the station from the railways in 2000, went on to develop impressive plans to revitalize the station, but it has been unable to act.

Looking around for private money to get it done, the city picked Union Pearson Group, a private consortium that planned to invest up to $150 million. But after years of talks, no deal was reached.

 
 
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