Lawsuits, redesigns, taxes, transit
Reading Time: 1 minute
By Tom Yun
The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) launched a lawsuit against former Executive Director Sandy Hudson in October 2015. The union alleges Hudson deliberately destroyed confidential information and was improperly issued $247,726.40 severance pay — about 10 per cent of the UTSU budget. The union is suing Hudson for the alleged fraudulent money, plus $200,000 in damages.
UTSU previously sued former President Yolen Bollo-Kamara and former Vice-President, internal & services, Cameron Wathey. The union has since reached settlements with both former executives. In December 2015, Hudson countersued the union for $300,000 in damages, claiming the union violated a non-disparagement and confidentiality agreement. UTSU has expressed a desire to reach a settlement; the legal dispute is still ongoing.
The Landmark Committee at UTSG is redesigning the Front Campus area by: eliminating motorized traffic from King’s College Circle; replacing surface parking with underground parking; planting more trees; and realigning traffic at Hart House Circle. A final draft of the proposal is expected in September.
The UTSC Master Plan was released in 2011 and includes: realigning Military Trail; adding more pedestrian-friendly green space; and constructing new buildings. Highland Hall is scheduled to open in spring 2018 and will house the Social Sciences departments and the registrant’s office.
At UTM, the university is working on the second phase of the new North Building, which is set for completion in summer 2018.
Victoria University’s property taxes
In April 2016, the City of Toronto Treasurer and Solicitor issued a staff report advising City Council to request provincial government changes to the Victoria University Act. Victoria University leases out land to several private companies, which use the land for office buildings and a condominium under construction.
Most universities are required to pay property taxes on non-university buildings; the Victoria University Act does not require this. Victoria University has been exempt from paying over $12 million in taxes from 131 Bloor Street West since 2009 and almost $3 million since 2013 from other properties.
City Council has requested a meeting between the City Treasurer and the Victoria University administration; the findings will be brought back to the city’s Government Management Committee in November.
In January, John Tory announced his plan to extend the under-construction Eglinton Crosstown Light Rapid Transit eastward to UTSC and to replace the Scarborough Rapid Transit with an extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway line to Scarborough Town Centre. Projected costs for the extensions increased after further analysis. In July, City Council voted to move forward with the project. In the west end, Brampton Transit is launching an express bus route from Brampton Gateway Terminal to UTM as part of a pilot project.