Mayor Rob Ford should not be allowed to buy a parkette beside his house, say members of the Toronto and Regional Conservation Authority’s executive committee.
In a 9-1 decision Friday, executive members rejected the Mayor’s request, with several arguing it would set a dangerous precedent. The issue will now go to a full board meeting on June 22.
“We cannot pick and choose who we sell land to. Once you start, where are you going to stop?” asked committee chair Gerri Lynn O’Connor. “There is no insignificant piece for green space.
Mr. Ford and his wife want to purchase the parcel beside their house so they can erect a perimeter security fence, according to their April 27 letter to the TRCA. Mr. Ford’s interest in the parkland is what drew a Toronto Star reporter to the public property around Mr. Ford’s Edenbridge Drive home last month. The Mayor accused the journalist of “spying” on him, but the reporter said he was simply checking out the land for his story.
Vincent Crisanti, the only member of the executive committee to vote in favour of the request, argued that other members were not considering the unique circumstances in dismissing the matter. “I find that offensive,” he said.
He suggested that Mr. Ford be allowed to lease the land, an option that failed to get support from any other member of the executive.
Ross Vaughan, the Fords’ representative on the land issue, told reporters the Mayor is only looking to protect his family. “He and his wife have a right to make an application,” he said.
At lunchtime event, Mr. Ford shrugged off the defeat when questioned by reporters. “If they rejected it, they rejected it,” he said. “I’m not going to appeal it. It’s alright.”
The TRCA owns more than 16,000 hectares of land in the Greater Toronto Area. During the meeting , staff told the executive that thousands of property owners have land that borders on conservation authority land.