By Paul W. Fitzgerald
The damage caused to the grass at St. James Park by people taking part in Occupy Toronto will come with a hefty price tag, according to officials with the City of Toronto.
The cost to replace the turf following the 40 day protest in the downtown core is earmarked at $60,000.00.
Now that’s a big bill for a city already saddled in major debt. And it’s a lot of dough for grass.
The big concern now however is that taxpayers just might be the ones on the hook for this enormous bill. It’s not the kind of news Torontonians want to hear, especially after Mayor Rob Ford and his budget team recently announced property tax hikes and other cuts to key services – all as a means to save money and bring down the city’s growing debt crisis.
However, there are people stepping up to the plate to make a difference for the community in which they live, work and play.
CFRB 1010 is one media outlet here in the city that is taking donations from listeners. The City of Toronto is also accepting donations via its website.
As well there is a new seed company in Canada that announced they are willing to foot the entire bill of its new eco-friendly seed so that area returns to its green and healthier look it once had.
RTF Water Saver Canada, distributors of RTF Water Saver Grass Seed out of Mississauga, are now in close talks with parks officials at City Hall, as well as Mayor Rob Ford, Councillor Norm Kelly, chairman of the parks and environment committee, and Councillor Pam McConnell.
During an interview, Ryan Streatch, national agent and spokesperson with the company, indicated that he “would be surprised if the city were to turn down the offer.”
“We know how much debt the city has and we are confident we will have a chance to work with them on this project that is so important for Torontonians,” he said.
Councillors Kelly and McConnell have already indicated that they appreciate the generous offer.
Officials at City Hall said that they will soon announce the amount they have received in donations.
Streatch’s expects word back from city officials in a few days.
“We told Mayor Ford’s office and other councillors that we can get them great grass and lots of it with our new seed,” said Streatch. “We believe in community outreach and we care deeply about the Toronto community and St. James Park.”