Tories warn MaRS bailout could cost more than the $1.1-billion gas plant scandal

TORONTO — The Liberal government’s decision to bail out a real estate project in downtown Toronto could cost Ontario taxpayers more than the $1.1-billion gas plants scandal, the Progressive Conservatives said Friday.

A closer examination of documents obtained from a government whistleblower shows the $317-million purchase price for the Phase 2 tower of the MaRS innovation and research complex is far from the total cost, said PC finance critic Vic Fedeli.

“The province will be covering a $45.7-million shortfall because MaRS will be running in the red until 2018 … and is also on the hook for $106 million in fit-up costs to move in tenants,” Fedeli said in an early morning conference call.

The most concerning item, added Fedeli, is amortization costs of $11 million a year over 40 years, and he wants Premier Kathleen Wynne to explain if that means taxpayers are on the hook for another $440 million on top of the $317-million bailout.