City's share of BMO Field expansion up for council vote
Fords call proposal for city to kick in $10 million 'corporate welfare'
City council is set to earmark $10 million later today to help expand BMO Field.
The vote is expected to pass easily despite opposition from Mayor Rob Ford and his brother Coun. Doug Ford, who both say city money shouldn't go toward the renovation.
Plans to expand the stadium — which sits on property owned by the city — would add nearly 10,000 seats, a partial roof and an expansion of the field so it can accommodate the CFL's Toronto Argonauts.
Toronto FC fan Adrian Murphy says it's a great idea.
"You build a bigger stadium, you invite in more support, you're showing the team that they're going to get better, that they're going to have the support," he said. "It generates business in the area."
TFC owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment says the total cost of the BMO Field makeover will be about $120 million.
They want a $10 million loan from each of three levels of government.
But the mayor says that's not a good idea, calling the plan "corporate welfare."
"Why don't they go to the bank and try to get that kind of deal? Because they can't," he said. "No one is going to give them that deal so why should they come to the city and ask us to do something that they can't get anywhere else. It's ridiculous."
Coun. Adam Vaughan is confident the expansion will happen, even without the Fords' support.
"We're partners on a piece of property we own that they're a tenant on and we are finding a way to develop an important city asset that supports the business model down there not only for our partner, but also for us.