Mayor Rob Ford’s attempt to convert the reflecting pool outside Toronto city hall into a wading pool has sunk.
Mayor Ford, inspired by a wading pool outside the Alberta legislature, moved a motion at council Friday requesting a report on the cost of converting the Toronto reflecting pool.
“I was really impressed when I went to Edmonton and saw their pool [or] fountain,” he said. “I think we could utilize – whatever you want to call it, the pool, the fountain out there – a lot better.”
Though the mayor stressed he was just requesting a report, and that the city wouldn’t move ahead with the conversion if the cost of the project turned out to be “enormous,” it was Mr. Ford who was accused of riding the gravy train for a change by his fellow councillors.
Councillor Josh Matlow asked how much money the mayor would consider “enormous,” but Mr. Ford declined to provide a number.
Councillor Adam Vaughan said there is already a plan for Nathan Phillips Square, outside city hall, and that it requires serious consideration, not a proposal he blasted as “ridiculous.”
Councillor Janet Davis said there was no doubt the conversion would come with serious costs, including new filtration systems and lifeguards.
The mayor’s motion did not carry, with the vote coming in at 16 to 16.
Friday marks the fourth straight day council has met this week. It has been much criticized for its discussion on transit funding. After two days of discussion, council rejected a total of 14 different ways to pay for transit, ruling out all but two options for funding the province’s regional expansion plans and failing to endorse a single measure. Councillors spent significant time during the debate talking not about transit funding, but about preferred transportation projects in their wards.
Tensions, at times, appeared high Friday.
During the wading pool debate, Councillor Davis accused Councillor Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother, of suggesting she should be shot with a gun.
Councillor Ford quickly clarified that he said tranquilizer gun. He then apologized.