Call for proposals sheds light on park sponsorship rights

Participants at the annual Terry Fox Run at Woodbine Beach. The city is hoping to attract sport and recreation vendors to the area. PHOTO: Beach Metro News file

The city continues its efforts to animate the Eastern Beaches, with a request for proposal issued last week looking for vendors to operate retail or service businesses in the area.

Interested parties are invited to apply but should be aware that “under no circumstances will the sale or distribution of food and/or beverages of any form whatsoever be allowed within the Licensed Area,” the city document states.

Ward 32 councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon said the city is hoping to attract vendors that will focus on sport and recreation sales such as paddle board rentals or summer boot camps rather than food, beverage or product sales.

“We’re open to ideas,” she said.

Food, beverage and product sales are still forbidden due to rights maintained by Tuggs Inc., which has an exclusive lease to sponsorship and food and beverage rights around Woodbine Beach and Ashbridge’s Bay.

Tuggs used to also have similar rights in Kew Gardens, but lost them after the recent renovations to the park.

The terms of the controversial Tuggs agreement run until 2028, but council agreed last year to review these terms and report back to the Government Management Committee by the first quarter of 2017.

McMahon said that, as of now, the conversation with Tuggs about their situation is still ongoing and she cannot comment further. “We are still in talks with him,” she said. She was not able to provide a timeline.

In a letter published in Beach Metro News earlier this year, the Free the Beaches group, which was formed last year in response to Tuggs’ application to transfer parts of its lease to Cara Operations Limited, encouraged residents to urge council to be more transparent about its dealings with Tuggs.

The RFP document states that the city is looking for proposals for a three-year term. Operating season will run annually from June 1st to September 30th between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekly, weather permitting. The deadline to apply is May 5, 2017.

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“under no circumstances will the sale or distribution of food and/or beverages of any form whatsoever be allowed within the Licensed Area”
Which means that for the next 11 years, locals and visitors to our beautiful boardwalk cannot enjoy a cold drink, a decent ice cream, a glass of wine, a nice lunch — except from the crappy, expensive snack bar south of Kew Gardens or from Tuggs most recent incarnation itself, which we should all boycott for obvious reasons. Stuck with water from a water fountain — assuming the few there are are even working.
Anywhere else in the world with a beautiful park or beautiful waterfront, this would be an outrage. How civilized to walk on the riverbank in Paris and stop for a tasty lunch and a glass of wine. How civilized to stroll in a park in Rome and sit under trees with a Campari soda or a bottle of Prosecco and some snacks. How civilized to stroll along the seashore in England and stop for a beer or a cream tea. But here in, ahem, “world-class” Toronto? Nope. Not a chance.
Disgraceful. Embarrassing.

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