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Denley: Ottawa Council shouldn't be loaning $40 million to a Toronto film studio

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The all-encompassing effort to manage the COVID-19 virus has pushed most of the regular work of Ottawa Council to one side, and perhaps it’s just as well. It will give councillors a bit more time to reflect on the wisdom of giving a $40-million loan to a Toronto company so it can build movie and television sound stages here.

Back in 2018, when the idea was first made public, it sounded like a good example of public-private co-operation. With the city’s support, the non-profit Ottawa Film Office obtained a long-term lease on some federal government land across from the Nepean Sportsplex on Woodroffe Avenue. The plan was for TriBro Studios to build four 20,000-sq. ft. sound stages, as well as workshops and production offices.

What was not initially clear was that the project would be supported by a substantial, taxpayer-backed loan. That became apparent when the issue came to a city committee earlier this month.

There’s little doubt the production facility would be an asset........

© Ottawa Citizen