As you know, our club has recently begun playing at Central Tech Stadium. The facility is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood and we look forward to playing there for years to come.
The operator of Central Tech Stadium is Razor Management Inc. The operator partnered with the TDSB to build Central Tech Stadium and Monarch Park Stadium (Coxwell and Danforth). The students use the facilities during the day and the operator permits them out at night to clubs like ours.
As many of you may also know, the City of Toronto asked MPAC to assess the operator at Monarch Park Stadium, after the Central Tech Stadium was approved by City Council. Late last year, the operator was handed a property tax bill of $600,000. MPAC has advised the operator that the City has requested that they assess the new facility at Central Technical School as well.
The operator asked the TDSB for assistance because the assessment amount was punitive seeing as the operator does not own the land and students use the facilities the majority of the time. In addition, no other private operator in partnership with the TDSB has been assessed by MPAC.
The TDSB has the ability to grant the operator a property tax exemption. Late last year, TDSB staff wrote a positive report to the Board of Trustees recommending the exemption. In a rare move, this positive staff report was dismissed by TDSB Trustees and voted down.
As a result, the operator has unfortunately been forced to pass the property taxes on to facility user groups. These are expensive facilities to build and operate not including the added, punitive property tax amount, that nobody else appears to be paying. These increased fees which (assessments) will eventually be passed down to our membership.
The local community is being penalized for using a facility in their own backyards. They are better off driving to Lamport Stadium, where the City of Toronto has given their partner (Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment) an exemption.
It has also come to light that BMO Field has not paid property tax in the 10 years they have been open and they do not have a property tax exemption from the City of Toronto. In our view, our club should not be paying property taxes that professional sports franchises are not required to pay.
We have also learned both the Peel District School Board and the York Catholic School Board have granted their partners exemptions in recent months for identical projects. It is the right thing to do. School boards across the province, especially the TDSB, are broke. They do not have the money to build facilities like these without partnerships like these.
The TDSB Trustees needs to hear from our club loud and clear, that we should not be subsiding a professional sports franchise and if the City of Toronto AND other school boards are granting their partners exemptions, the TDSB should follow suit. In the event that the TDSB Trustees refuse to listen, our club will be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars that no other community or club in the City is paying. There needs to be fairness and equity and right now there is none.
Please email our local Trustee Ausma Malik and all TDSB Trustees below to let them know how disappointed we are in their lack of leadership on this issue.