A motion set to be voted on this week by the Board of Governors of Exhibition Place asks that city staff formally explore the idea of using Exhibition Place grounds as an alternative site for the proposed Therme spa and waterpark instead of Ontario Place.

In a letter to the board earlier this month, Deputy Mayor Ausma Malik said she has sent the city’s Executive Committee a recommendation to formally request a staff report exploring the feasibility of placing the proposed Therme facility at Exhibition Place, including within the Better Living Centre site.

“Exhibition Place may benefit from and provide an improved location for this use due to factors such as proximity to transit, hotel accommodations, parking, existing servicing and other infrastructure,” Malik said in the letter.

Mayor Olivia Chow has previously floated the idea of locating the contentious spa project elsewhere. She recently told CP24.com in an interview that she wants to explore alternatives.

“I don't personally support the private luxury spa by the waterfront,” she said last week. “But are there other places that could accommodate that? Maybe. That's what we're exploring.”

The Ontario government has been moving forward with plans to build the large spa and water park on the west island of Ontario Place, but critics and community groups have pushed back against the idea, saying it amounts to the privatization of an important public park space.  Infrastructure Minister Kinga Surma has previously said the Ontario Place plan involves a “long-term lease” of the lands to Therme.

Malik’s letter suggests that the relevant city staff report back to the Executive Committee by Dec. 5 on a preliminary feasibility assessment of using city-owned Exhibition Place land instead of Ontario Place.

Malik said any consideration of building the Therme facility at Exhibition Place would need to consider key plans for Exhibition Place, including the operations of key tenants and event organizers, including the CNE.

“A preliminary feasibility assessment will allow further feedback to be provided by City Council and the Exhibition Place Board of Governors, and to help determine any further steps, including public engagement,” Malik wrote.

Her letter asks the board to endorse her request to the Executive Committee for the staff report. Executive Committee is set to meet next on Oct. 31.

Access to much of the West Island has already been closed off. The government has said it plans to move ahead with preparing the site this fall, including the removal of many trees. It has said that many new trees will eventually be planted to replace them.

In a statement provided to CP24.com Monday, a spokesperson for Infrastructure Minister Kinga Surma said “significant progress” has been made on work at the Ontario Place site so far.

“The vision to rebuild Ontario Place is well underway, with shovels in the ground to repair and replace the underground critical infrastructure. We’ve made significant progress on this work so far and we’ll continue to work with the City of Toronto to execute that vision,” the statement from Surma’s office read.

“A revised development application was recently submitted to the city and we hope they continue to collaborate with us to move this important project forward.”