‘Old decrepit building’: Ford won’t change his mind on Science Centre closure

 Premier Doug Ford says the Ontario Science Centre is an “old decrepit building” and he won’t change his mind regarding its closure. The premier says a technical briefing scheduled for Thursday will confirm the findings of an engineering report last month, which found that the roof is at risk of collapsing. “We did a peer [[{“value”:”

Premier Doug Ford says the Ontario Science Centre is an “old decrepit building” and he won’t change his mind regarding its closure.

The premier says a technical briefing scheduled for Thursday will confirm the findings of an engineering report last month, which found that the roof is at risk of collapsing.

“We did a peer review with the Science Centre, meaning we had another firm come in and confirm what the first firm said and it would cost minimum – minimum – close to $500 million, it would shut the Ontario Science Centre down,” Ford said during an unrelated event Wednesday morning. “What we’re going to do, we’re going to build a state of the art, world-class facility that people can come and there’s going to be more exhibit space, we’re going to have more tourists come by and it’s going to be just spectacular.”

The engineering firm Rinkus Consulting Group said replacing and repairing the roof would cost upwards of $40 million and would take two or more years to complete with the facility closed.

Critics and the firm of the late architect who designed the building called the move to close it “absurd” and motivated by politics rather than safety concerns. The architecture firm has offered its services for free to the Ontario government to make the necessary roof repairs and keep the facility open.

Ford said there are issues that go beyond the roof, such as asbestos and other dangerous chemicals that would be released into the air if repairs were attempted.

“At the end of the day, this is not a safe building,” he said. “When I have two engineering reports back-to-back and I was briefed for over an hour, not just about the roof, but about every issue you could possibly think of, it just doesn’t make sense to throw good money into an old, decrepit building.”

“You’ll fall off your chair when you see all the issues we have down there, not just the roof,” he added.

The government is currently exploring alternative locations for the Science Centre and a request for proposals indicates they are looking to lease that temporary space for four to eight years, despite the fact the new permanent home for the Science Centre at Ontario Place could open as early as 2028.

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