TORONTO – Three Toronto Atmospheric Fund loans including one for a Lake Simcoe wind farm got blown away Tuesday.
With no debate, the board of the city’s arm’s length agency voted to rescind approval for the three loans totalling $865,000 including a controversial $500,000 loan to a Lake Simcoe wind farm and $15,000 to the Bata Shoe Museum.
TAF board chairman Councillor Shelley Carroll said pulling the loans is routine business for the fund, adding the arrangement doesn’t always work out for a variety of reasons.
A staff report recommended the approval for the wind farm loan be pulled because the energy co-op got a better deal somewhere else.
“The co-op has declined TAF funding as they have found more favourable financing terms,” the report stated.
The board also voted to drop a $350,000 loan to Ledcor Properties to finance an energy efficiency retrofit and a $15,000 loan to the Bata Shoe Museum to finance the purchase and installation of LED lights in public areas of the museum.
Staff stated the Ledcor loan was pulled because the building owner wasn’t ready to proceed and the Bata loan was stopped because the museum hasn’t been able to find “technology that they believe provides an equivalent lighting experience.”
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday was glad to hear the wind farm loan was gone with the wind.
Holyday originally questioned that loan arguing it had “nothing to do with Toronto.”
“I question the whole atmospheric loan program and the fund, how it operates, why it operates,” Holyday said. “I certainly disagree with us putting Toronto taxpayers’ money into areas outside the city.”
At Tuesday’s audit committee, Holyday grilled staff from the Toronto Atmospheric Fund about its loans.
He’s eagerly awaiting a review of TAF and other environmental offices the city funds.
“Why do we have so many? Why can’t we just put this into one and maybe have a grants program or something that makes sense,” Holyday said.
Carroll said she’s used to Holyday questioning the fund.
“When there is an answer to every question he seems disappointed,” she said.
While the start of Mayor Rob Ford’s administration seemed to signal tough times ahead for the fund, Carroll said she feels there is a “growing understanding” of what TAF does.
“And what it doesn’t do…cost the city any money,” she said.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding