Mayor John Tory pushes support for controversial Runnymede shelter in late-night debate

As a meeting of the executive stretched past midnight and entered its 15th hour at city hall, Toronto Mayor John Tory admonished some of his closest council allies for what he called a late-night attempt to scuttle a temporary shelter required to house some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.His words in the early hours of Tuesday morning appeared to save the lease required to house the temporary shelter for men at 731 Runnymede Rd., just south of St. Clair Ave., from being renegotiated at the final hour.Staff recommended a lease of 10 years, totalling $11.2 million, with two options to extend an additional five years each after that, following drawn-out negotiations with the landlord of the former Goodwill site.But local Councillor Frances Nunziata, who had previously railed against the proposed location at the southern edge of her Ward 11 (York South-Weston), said the lease was never meant to be more than 10 years total. She claimed her community, where some members have lashed out against a shelter being proposed in their backyards, were “misled.”The temporary shelter is needed to house those displaced by the planned revitalization of George St. downtown. Staff said the earliest that project could be complete is 2025 and that the lease agreement leaves flexibility with construction timelines.Article Continued BelowSome on the executive, including Deputy Mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong, said they were prepared to back Nunziata on a motion to cap the lease at a maximum of 10 years.“This is not the agreement that we had with the community,” Minnan-Wong said. “I think the community is right and I think the councillor’s right to view this with a healthy degree of skepticism, if not suspicion.”The mayor was last up to speak.