Kiyoko Fujimura

Buzzbuzzhome Corp.
July 14, 2010

You all know the old story of Robin Hood, giving to the rich and taking from the poor– or, wait…that’s not how it goes. But that’s how it goes for the City of Toronto and the private golf courses.

Thanks to an ancient law, Toronto tax payers have effectively been subsidizing courses that are not open to the public. Not only are they not open to the public, but you have to pay egregious fees to play there (some to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars).

The story begins in the 1950s and 1960s when Toronto was undergoing a crazy development boom and developers were snatching up green space wherever they could. The policy is such that the golf club owner receives property tax breaks to the tune of 10-30% but if they ever choose to sell the land they have to pay the City for the discounts accrued over the year plus interest.

But…while the policy may have been created with Torontonians’ best interest at heart, it’s not really fair.

One councillor, Howard Moscoe, challenged the policy in 2004, but nothing came of it. Now, the policy has a second challenger: councillor Adrian Heaps.

According to the Toronto Star:

“This is something that’s been buried in the archives for so many years. The last thing these courses want is for this to come to light,” said Heaps. “For them it’s a sweet deal. The public is subsidizing nine high-end golf courses that certainly aren’t in dire straights and they’re receiving no public benefits.”

Here, here! You tell ’em, Heaps. This policy seems to be a load of crap. Toronto could definitely find a way to use the money. Maybe on that stacked ice rink we posted about earlier. Or something else. But not this. Anything but this.

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