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Editorial: A Faulty Case to Relocate the Science Centre

Editorial: A Faulty Case to Relocate the Science Centre

Taking all of this into account, the actual cost for repairing the science centre may be closer to $350M, including a generous $100M allocation for renovations and new exhibitions, while the cost of a relocated science centre could be in the $1B range.

The government’s case for relocating the Ontario Science Centre argues that the smaller facility will attract more visitors. The estimates count on laying off 53 people—one of every six people who currently work at the Science Centre. In short, they are expecting that 50% more people will visit a facility that is 45% of the size of the current Science Centre, with a significantly reduced staff managing it all.

Let’s make no mistake: the new, enormously expensive facility wouldn’t be a beauty queen. In the preliminary plans, student spaces and classrooms are in the basement. The Ontario government plans to use a public-private partnership (P3) method to procure the building—it already put out a call for a PDC consultant last summer.

There is an imperative to change course on the shuttering and relocation of the Ontario Science Centre. While we may take it for granted, there is value in taking care of what we have: a magnificent, much-loved Ontario Science Centre that is in need of some TLC. The value of such a gem isn’t something we usually quantify, but if we did—in a neutral way—it’s clear how the business case would land.

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