Mayor's executive committee votes to fund Riverdale Farm
Riverdale Farm will likely continue to operate at taxpayers' expense, a decision by Mayor Rob Ford's executive committee that has left Toronto budget chief Mike Del Grande fuming.
The committee voted on Tuesday to give the farm the money it needs to operate, against the wishes of Ford and Del Grande.
"You get a little bit of noise and everybody has legs that wobble," Del Grande told the committee. "So get a backbone."
The decision must be endorsed by the full council.
When the farm was threatened with closure earlier this year as part of budget cuts, a local group called the Riverdale Farm Coalition stepped forward to say it would raise the $500,000 needed each year to run the Cabbagetown attraction, which is billed as an example of an Ontario farm between 1880 and 1920.
So far, the group says it has raised only $100,000.
Del Grande pointed to two city-run zoos — in High Park and on Centre Island — that soon won't rely on taxpayers' dollars.
Though the farm will stay open, Del Grande said he will take a hard look at Riverdale's funding every year.
"This comes up in budget every year, so … if that subsidy looks like it's keep going up and up, I think that's going to be fair game to say, 'We're not going to fund it,'" he said.