International sporting competitions give big-spending city councillors and their friends a chance to get all kinds of expensive and pointless public projects approved under the guise of promoting the city, and the 2015 Pan Am Games are no exception, said the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition.
“If the Pan Am Games are a celebration of sport, why is there so much grant money going to non-sports related programs?” asked Toronto Taxpayers Coalition President Matt McGuire.
Some of these non-sports related projects include $865,000 for “cultural activations” and art installations on the 84-km Pan Am Path, $1.5 million for community and neighbourhood celebrations related to the games, and- most egregious of all- $4.6 million to light up the suicide prevention barrier over the Bloor Viaduct known as the Luminous Veil.
While most of these ventures would prove difficult for any corporate sponsor to justify supporting, given how wasteful they are, the city’s Toronto Partnership Office has refused to commit full time fundraisers towards finding any sponsors to defray the cost to taxpayers.
“Hitting a small goal for sponsorship money should not preclude a search for further sponsorship revenue,” McGuire said. “We would expect councillors to always support alternative ways of trying to save taxpayers money.”