De Baeremaeker uncovers dormant fund

More than a third of a million dollars has been found by Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker in a dormant Scarborough bank account.

The councillor made the revelation to city council on Sept. 15, saying he had uncovered $373,000 that had been sitting in the account for 21 years.

It wasn’t just a lucky find though — De Baeremaeker said he has spent the last six years looking for this money, asking the city’s staff to go through documents such as financial statements and developmental applications that were over two decades old.

“I thought there was money out there that we didn’t spend properly,” De Baeremaeker said.

The City of Toronto initially put this money away in 1988 for a fund intended to pay for childcare in the Scarborough Centre area, he said.

“This money was meant to be spent on the children in our area, to make our parks more enjoyable for them.”

The surprise finding was a hot topic at the Scarborough Community Council. Other councillors proposed projects the money could be put towards in their wards instead, such as building condominiums and installing new traffic signals.

“I felt like one of those people that win the lottery and all of their unemployed relatives show up for their chunk of the money,” De Baeremaeker said. “It wasn’t fair of them.”

De Baeremaeker noted prices and boundaries have changed since the 1980s and using this money to build a $5-million daycare centre would not be realistic. He still insists the money should be spent on the children in the community.

“I do think that [the children] is what it should still be used for today,” he said. “For park beautification, or adding more equipment to playgrounds, and planting more trees.”

Principal Azza Hamid of Bellmere Junior Public School said she thought De Baeremaeker’s proposal to put the money toward the children in Ward 38 is a fantastic idea.

“I know for a fact that at our school here, we would really benefit from having a cricket pitch out in the back,” said Hamid. “That is something the whole community here is just waiting for and we’ve been speaking with Glenn De Baeremaeker for a while now.”

Bellmere Junior Public School principal Azza Hamid on what Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker should push to use the money for.

She also said areas in Scarborough have playgrounds that are not up to standard. “Playgrounds are something that could channel the children’s energy positively so I agree with [De Baeremaeker] 100 per cent.”

The final decision on how this newfound money will be spent is to be made at the next council meeting.