Police: No evidence mysterious bunker was built for 'nefarious' purpose
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, February 24, 2015 5:20AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 25, 2015 12:26PM EST
Police say there is no evidence suggesting that an underground bunker discovered near the Rexall Centre was built for a “nefarious” purpose.
Deputy Chief Mark Saunders told reporters on Tuesday that the chamber was discovered by a conservation officer in a densely wooded area about 82 feet from a fence restricting access to the venue on Jan. 14.
Saunders said the bunker, which was reinforced with wood framing, was located 10 feet underground and measured 33 feet long, six feet and four inches high and two feet and 10 inches wide.
The bunker was receiving power from an extension cord connected to a generator that that was placed in a shallow hole dug nearby.
Inside the bunker police located a set of rosary beads nailed to a wall with a Remembrance Day poppy affixed to them.
Officers also located moisture resistant light bulbs, a sump pump for moving ground water, a pulley system, a red portable gas container, work gloves, a wheel barrow and food and beverage containers in the surrounding area.
The bunker has since been filled in by police.
“There is no criminal offence for digging a hole and right now there is nothing that would cross this over into criminal action in any way shape or form,” Saunders said. “My concern is I don’t know why this was here. That’s my concern. It can go one way or it can go the other way.”
Police have not been able to determine when the bunker was dug out but Saunders said that the presence of ice at the end of a sump pump used to extract ground water suggests that it was accessed at some point this winter.
Though police haven’t located any evidence of criminality at this point, Saunders said it is clear that whoever dug the tunnel didn’t want it to be discovered, as the entrance was covered over with plywood and dirt and insulation was placed around the generator seemingly to reduce noise.
“Whoever decided to build this took quite a bit of time to build this and to make the structure was sound,” Saunders said. “We need some definitive answers on who designed this and why they designed it.”
Tunnel wouldn’t have ended up underneath Rexall Centre
The Rexall Centre will be used as the tennis venue at the Pan American Games this summer and some concern has been expressed about the proximity of the bunker to the facility.
Saunders, however, told reporters that if the bunker had been extended it would have gone through a hill and come above ground before ending up at the Rexall Centre.
Saunders also said that the bunker was an “eye-sore” with a pile of dirt nearby and would have been located by police before the games.
“I am the executive officer in charge of the Pan Am Games and I can tell you point-blank that with all of our venues we have a very robust security mechanism in place and we would have located this. We have steps and measures to ensure that if someone is going to be nefarious in this way we will be on top of it,” he said.
According to a spokesperson for John Tory, the mayor's office is in contact with Toronto Police and continues to be "updated on the situation. "
Tory told reporters at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that he thinks police told the public about the situation in a timely fashion,especially because there's nothing to suggest a link to crime.
"I'm satisfied that they've told us in a timely way," he said. "We're in touch with Toronto police on a daily basis and I'm not surprised given what they've said, that they didn't tell us about this in advance."
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at (416) 808-3100 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at (416) 222-TIPS (8477).
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