Stintz calls third-party review the solution to newsstand controversy
Chris Fox, cp24.com
Published Thursday, January 31, 2013 12:05PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 31, 2013 1:59PM EST
TTC Chair Karen Stintz says she and Mayor Rob Ford now agree on the “way forward” after the pair got into a dispute over a soul-sourced deal to extend an agreement with the company that operates newsstands in subway stations earlier this week.
Ford used his weekly radio show to question the $50-million, 10-year deal with Gateway Newstands on Sunday, calling it “appalling” and an “embarrassment” to the city.
In the wake of Ford’s criticism, International News then submitted a competing bid and on Wednesday Stintz ordered a third-party review comparing that offer with the one from Gateway Newstands.
The results of the review are expected before the TTC has its next meeting on Monday Feb. 25.
“I think it is fair to say the mayor and I agree on the way forward,” Stintz told CP24 on Thursday morning. “We didn’t have another proposal and now we have one so we it owe it to them (International News) to review it and compare it against the offer we have. I’m confident in what the commission approved but if new information comes to light we have an obligation to consider that too.”
Gateway Newstands has been the sole operator of newsstands and kiosks in subway stations since 1994 with their contract being renewed several times prior.
Speaking with CP24 Thursday Stintz said she was taken aback by the mayor’s criticism since his office was made aware of the plans to extend the agreement in October and expressed no hesitation at the time.
“The mayor’s office was fully appraised over the last four months and I had no idea there were any concerns until I heard about it on the radio show,” she said. “I think we have learned that that is not the best way to get business done at city hall. I’m looking forward to a new relationship.”
On Wednesday evening Ford told reporters that he was “glad” Stintz realized she made a mistake and was taking measures to correct it, however on Thursday, Stintz refused to assume any fault when asked for her take on Ford’s comments.
“The mayor and I are agreeing on the way forward and I think that is the most important thing,” she said. “There was some controversy and I think it’s over.”
The agreement with Gateway Newstands includes a 67 per cent increase in rent, including a $1.4 million bump in the final two years of its previous agreement with the city.
In a news release issued Thursday, CEO Michael Aychental argued that the deal his company reached with the TTC provides the city with an additional $7 million in revenue over the life of the agreement once construction and transitional costs are taken into account.
"Our deal is better in every way and provides greater revenue to the TTC," he said. “"The proof is there in black and white."
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