On Dec. 3 George Foulidis, owner and operator of the Boardwalk Pub in Ashbridges Bay Park, along with Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon held an open house at the facility in hopes of answering questions and addressing concerns from the community in relation to the planned expansion of the facility.
Foulidis hopes to extend the existing restaurant to the east, bringing it to a total of approximately 10,000 square feet – an additional 596 square feet of floor space.
Because the addition falls under 600 square feet, it is exempt from the need of a site plan approval by City Hall.
There are also plans to build a roof patio which is in compliance with zoning by-laws. It will hold 50 to 60 seats.
Because of traffic congestion in the adjacent parking lots, a paved turn-about is also being constructed just east of the pub. This will ease the traffic flow and will also see the garbage bins moved further west, out of public view.
Foulidis is hoping the project will be finished in time for the summer season, with construction continuing through the winter.
Criticized for getting too good a deal from the City, Foulidis is quick to explain how he's paying to improve what will eventually be a city asset once the leasing contract expires.
“The tax-payer is getting a benefit. This belongs to the tax-payers,” he said. “I'm investing $2 million to $2.5 million in capital improvements...amortized over, say, 10 or 15 years, that's almost another $300,000 in ‘rent’ every year I'm paying with interest. That's on top of the $250,000 I already pay in rent, that's over half-a-million dollars a year I'm paying in total.”
The business also pays the city 15% of the gross revenue that the establishment generates.
McMahon has kept a positive attitude towards the planned development, and continues to “make the best” of it.
“We want to get the facts out there, and want the community engaged. We want people to know what's being built, when it's being built and how it's being built and why it's being built,” said McMahon. “It's a bigger building, but his footprint remains the same. He also has to plant 40 trees in the park.”
One criticisum that some were quick to make, including the councillor, is the choice of food at the restaurant. “I'd love to have some George Brown culinary students down here to help improve the menu,” said McMahon.
“I'm a man of my word, I do what's right and haven't done anything wrong,” insisted Foulidis.
When George Foulidis, owner of the Boardwalk Pub on Ashbridges Bay, caught sight of Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy in his establishment, he was quick to ask her to leave and went as far as threatening to call the police.
“Haven't you caused enough trouble in this city?” he asked the reporter, who extensively covered the lease renewal in 2010 when Sandra Bussin was Ward 32's councillor.
“It's a public park and a public lease. This is a public meeting and I had every right to be there,” said Sue-Ann outside the building.
“He missed a golden opportunity...it was disgraceful for [Foulidis] to start selecting and chasing out members of the media. It reflects poorly,” said lawyer Martin Gladstone of the incident.
When asked about the incident, Foulidis said that “[Levy] distorts the truth. She lies...I have every right to allow anyone in here...or not allow,” he added.
Levy came back to interview Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon without any further incidents.