Fierce public disapproval has been enough to make Therme Group rejig its plans for the new megaspa it’s set to construct at Ontario Place, but is it enough to make it move the project altogether?
If the Austrian wellness firm is open to the idea, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow has made it an offer that could help improve its image and perhaps even convince some residents to welcome its arrival.
New designs for revitalization of Ontario Place still overshadowed by outrage https://t.co/3gwjDWriak
— Shaun Proulx (@ShaunProulx) September 26, 2023
Chow — who campaigned against the spa as an MP in 2022 — floated the idea of putting the spa at the Better Living Centre at Exhibition Place, a 1960s modernist building that she pointed out to the Star last week could provide the footprint size that Therme is seeking and is underused.
It also conveniently already has its own parking and is more accessible to the city than the Ontario Place lands are.
“If the premier is interested in it, it’s there,” she told the outlet on Friday in a pretty significant pitch that was overlooked in a larger article, but extricated in Matt Elliott’s City Hall Watcher newsletter on Monday.
Seeing as much of the pushback to the spa is against the concept of turning a public green space neglected by the government for years into a sprawling private, for-profit facility (with parking lot), relocating the spa could be a good alternative to pushing forward as planned and remaining hated by a large chunk of locals, perhaps even people it’s planning to cater to.
But, at this point, there are some who won’t be happy until the project is canned altogether, especially amid all of the scandal surrounding the Ford leadership at the moment.
If Olivia Chow does nothing to prevent the destruction of Ontario Place, she is no better than the other corrupt, self-serving parasites in government. Please, prove yourself different, @MayorOliviaChow. Don’t let Thug Ford & Therme cut down all the trees.
— Kevin Edward Proulx (@kevineproulx) September 14, 2023
The developer has tried to win citizens over with changes to its design in recent weeks, which include reducing the scale of the building and splitting it into a more campus-like format and adding more publicly-accessible space.
The province also submitted an updated development application for the site this month that claims to have taken into account feedback from stakeholders with the intent to continue “working together to breathe new life into Ontario Place.”