Funding buys time for High Park Zoo, councillor says

A Toronto councillor says the High Park Zoo has received a funding boost that could buy it enough time to map out a long-term plan for staying in operation.

A Toronto city councillor says the High Park Zoo has received a funding boost that could buy it enough time to map out a long-term plan for staying in operation.

Coun. Sarah Doucette announced an offer from the Honey Family Foundation to match up to $50,000 in donations to the High Park Zoo. (Ivy Cuervo/CBC)

Coun. Sarah Doucette announced late Monday that the Honey Family Foundation had made an offer to match donations made to the west-end zoo that will be cut off from city funding within weeks.

The Honey Family Foundation will match up to $50,000 in donations made through the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation by June 15.

Doucette told CBC Radio’s Metro Morning that the zoo needs about $100,000 to keep running until December.

The offer from the Honey Family Foundation should help the zoo reach that goal, which will allow them to look for more permanent funding in the interim.

"They’ve helped us keep going, to allow us to have the time to build our business plan and get more corporate donations," Doucette said on Tuesday morning.

The Honey Family Foundation has also offered to match up to $50,000 in donations in 2013 and 2014.

Doucette said there are corporate sponsors who have expressed interest in helping the zoo, but they want to be assured that it will keep running before they invest.

"Basically they don’t want to donate to something which may not be there, which I can understand," she said.

Doucette said that the city should be helping find suitable corporate donors, rather than forcing the local community to do it themselves.

"If the city really, really feels it cannot fund $227,000 a year, which is peanuts, they should be the ones going out and finding corporate help, not volunteers," she said.