Showdown at the Boardwalk Café: Tuggs owner gets an earful from local candidate

Showdown at the Boardwalk Café: Tuggs owner gets an earful from local candidate

There are many reasons readers might be familiar with Sandra Bussin, councillor for Beaches–East York. Some may remember the time she called in to John Tory‘s radio show and called him a “three-time loser.”  Others will remember her part in getting the city to renew a monopoly agreement with the Boardwalk Café, the only business permitted to sell food and drinks on the beach in the city’s east end. The cushy deal made against the advice of city staff (where have we heard that before?) guarantees that the restaurant won’t face any competition until 2028.  Well, yesterday, the issue blew up in the open as a local candidate challenging Bussin argued with the owner of the Boardwalk Café, George Foulidis.

So says the Globe and Mail:

On Sunday, a fed-up Mr. Foulidis lashed out at Martin Gladstone, a candidate for Ward 32 Beaches–East York who called a news conference in front of the pub to reveal the contents of the 83-page lease, which he’d obtained through a Freedom of Information request…

In his summary of the lease, Mr. Gladstone said the deal was full of irregularities, including quarterly rent payments instead of monthly; no security deposit and no requirement that last month’s rent be paid upfront.

But Mr. Gladstone trumpeted a key finding that wasn’t new at all. It has been publicly known for months that the base rent over the life of the lease is 20-per-cent lower than what Mr. Foulidis first offered and what council approved back in 2007.

It’s safe to say that when council approved this deal way back when, no one expected it to fester the way it has. Some credit for keeping the issue alive has to go to Rob Ford: along with the Jarvis bike lane and the environmental assessment to tear down the Gardiner, the deal with Foulidis is one of Ford’s favourite examples of waste and corruption at city hall.

The issue has become so potent that the Toronto Star is calling Bussin’s seat a tight race, even though Bussin is a long-time incumbent who would be bulletproof in a normal election year. We stopped looking at a normal election year sometime around March, if memory serves.

• Mug full of frustration spills at Boardwalk Pub [Globe and Mail]
• Video: Quarrel at the Boardwalk Pub [Globe and Mail]
5 tight city council races to watch [Toronto Star]
City’s controversial lease deal heats up [Toronto Sun]