Rob Ford talked of tearing down house contrary to agent’s comments at hearing on bid to buy parkette
David Rider Urban Affairs Bureau Chief
Mayor Rob Ford talked on tape less than two years ago of plans to tear down his house and build a “nice” new one, contrary to his agent’s suggestion Friday to an agency considering Ford’s bid to buy parkland next door.
Ford was represented at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority hearing by Ross Vaughan, who said he is a longtime family friend and the real estate agent for the purchase of their Etobicoke home.
Vaughan said Ford is making the unprecedented bid to buy a 2,600-square-foot grassy parkette, with three trees and a hedge, out of security concerns “for their children, primarily” that arose after he became mayor in fall 2010. Ford plans to erect a new security fence with a “buffer” to his home, he said.
Asked by Toronto Councillor Maria Augimeri if Ford has any plans to tear down and expand his home, Vaughan told the TRCA executive that, based on property values in the upscale area, it would be “very unwise,” to tear down the solidly built bungalow.
“The house is really perfect from a construction point of view … Whether or not future plans might include expansion of the property I couldn’t answer that question,” Vaughan said. “I can’t see any reasonable person wanting to tear down the building.”
Later, to reporters, Vaughan said: “It’s not the kind of house you would tear down by any stretch of the imagination whatsoever.”
But in a July 15, 2010 interview, Ford twice said he plans to do exactly that.
“Eventually I’m going to tear down my house there and build a new house,” Ford said, adding he got a great deal eight years earlier, spending $499,000 on the ravine-backed “little white bungalow” surrounded by “mansions” worth between $1 million and $2 million.
Later in the taped interview for a story about mayoral candidates’ home lives that appeared in the Star, Ford said he didn’t bring visitors to the toy-strewn home he shares with his wife and two young children.
“It has to basically be redone and we’re not going to redo it. I’m not going to put any money into it,” he said. “When the kids are a little older, probably in two or three years, when they’re maybe 6 or 7, and they’re all in school full time, I’m going to tear down the whole house and build a nice house.”
The conservation authority, after questioning Vaughan, voted 11-1 to let Ford’s application proceed, with staff for the TRCA and City of Toronto, which maintains the parkette, to write reports and make recommendations.
If the TRCA executive rejects Ford’s purchase bid, the application dies. If it endorses it, public hearings will be held and the application will go to the full TRCA board for a final vote.
Two days before the TRCA meeting, an angry Ford with his fist raised confronted a Toronto Star reporter who was on public property behind Ford’s back fence trying to identify the land he wants to buy. Ford accused the Star of spying on him; the paper has called that nonsense.
Ford’s press secretary did not respond to a request for comment.
On his Newstalk 1010 radio show Sunday, Ford pushed his weekly weigh-in back to Tuesday at 9 a.m., instead of holding it Monday