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Tuggs keeps concessions contract after council motions fail

Toronto's 24-year boardwalk concession contract will stay in place after motions to reopen the issue and have the city's auditor probe the way the contract was awarded failed to get the two-thirds support needed to pass.

The city approved a new contract for Tuggs, Inc., which has operated the city's Boardwalk Pub and beach concessions since 1986, in its May council meeting. But shortly after the late-evening vote, which passed 15-12 with 17 councillors and the mayor absent, councillor Frances Nunziata said she would have voted differently had she known more about the contract. She put forward two motions - one to reopen the contract issue and one to ask for an audit into the process. The city decided in 2007 not to put the contract out to tender, based on the argument that Tuggs owner George Foulidis had built up a successful independent business and should be allowed to keep it going.

The new contract, which runs through 2028, has raised concern among some residents of the area. They say they've had problems with the sweeping monopoly the contract grants, including the need for special permission for fundraising events that involve selling hot dogs and soft drinks. It has also become something of a political football, with current and former opponents of local councillor Sandra Bussin fighting for the contract to be reopened.

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Twenty-two of the councillors present Thursday afternoon voted in favour of Ms. Nunziata's motion to reopen the issue, which needed two-thirds support to pass. Nineteen voted against.

Several councillors who voted in favour of the motion in May have noted that even though city staff hadn't formally signed the contract, reopening the issue would have legal implications for the city.

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