Ontario Science Centre employees 'angry and confused' by plan to move: union
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, April 26, 2023 5:40PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 26, 2023 8:55PM EDT
Ontario Science Centre staff are "angry and confused" by the province's plans to move the attraction to Ontario Place, their union said Wednesday, in stark contrast to the premier's characterization of their mood.
Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday that the employees are "excited" by the prospect of moving from the current east Toronto facility, but the union said that's not the case.
"Some 400 workers at the Ontario Science Centre, represented by (the Ontario Public Service Employees' Union) are angry and confused by the Ford government’s plans to move the educational attraction to the Ontario Place grounds in downtown Toronto," the union wrote in a statement.
"There are no discernible benefits and many disadvantages to moving from the current spacious location in Don Mills to a congested site downtown."
OPSEU represents staff who make and maintain exhibits, conduct classes and tours, food service and ticketing staff who run the cafeteria and box offices, and cleaning staff.
Most staff have worked at the science centre for more than 10 years and have built their lives in nearby neighbourhoods, the union said.
"Science Centre staff are also concerned about the impact the move will have on their own lives, including the prospect of job losses," the union wrote in the statement.
"The long and much more inaccessible commute to the new location would make it much more difficult to get to what many staff describe as their dream job – working in the place they remember visiting with their families and school educational trips while growing up."
Moving the science centre from the current site on a ravine to a pavilion on the redeveloped Ontario Place grounds could mean a smaller, more crowded space, reducing exhibit capacity and leading to possible layoffs, OPSEU said.
The area around Ontario Place is a congested section of downtown, and having the centre where it is now makes it more accessible for visitors and school groups, the union said.
Ford has said moving the science centre will allow the government to modernize the facility, attract more visitors, and build housing or possibly a school or community centre on the current site.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2023.