Letter to TTC Commissioners – January 30, 2013
[Below is the text of a letter I sent to TTC Commissioners today. Karen.]
By now, you should have received an “unconditional” offer from International News, submitted at 8:00 pm yesterday evening, with respect to operating the newsstands within the subway system. I learned about this proposal at 9:45 PM last evening through the media, and reviewed it for the first time this morning.
While the proposal claims to be unconditional the terms of the proposal are very unclear, since the current leases do not expire until 2014 at the earliest.
I cannot explain why this proposal was not submitted over the course of the last four months when this issue was before the Commission; however, I believe that it should be reviewed in the interest of fairness and transparency. I will be asking TTC staff to conduct a third-party review of the International News proposal against the Gateway proposal and to provide a briefing note to the Commissioners before the next meeting. This third-party review should include commentary from legal and real-estate experts and will evaluate the terms of each proposal for value-for-money, the current relationship each tenant has with its respective landlord(s), and the customer-service impact on the TTC.
If you feel there are other components regarding this issue which need to be covered by such a third-party review please forward them to me.
I feel strongly that this review be conducted by a third-party since TTC staff have been inconsistent in their recommendations to the Commission.
I also believe very strongly that this issue has become a distraction to the good work that is going on at the TTC. This needs to end. Andy Byford agrees with me.
This review, I believe, will still demonstrate that the Tobmar/Gateway lease extension proposal is very solid. It makes enormous business sense to extend leases for good tenants when the rents are increased by 67%. This is not a sole-source contract. It is a lease-extension and a very common practice throughout the TTC, the City and its Agency, Boards and Commissions where there is a landlord-tenant relationship.
For the record, the Mayor has yet to contact me on this issue.
TTC Chair & City Councillor for
Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence
City of Toronto