WATCH: Executive committee approves Raptors practice facility

The $30-million facility at the Ex still needs final council approval next week

The Raptors are one step closer to building a $30-million practice facility at Exhibition Place.

The executive committee voted in favour of allowing the project to move forward, something that still needs council's final approval next week.

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president and CEO Tim Leiweke told committee members that the company pay for construction, upkeep, maintenance, and capital improvements. The building would be owned by the city and leased to MLSE.  

After the vote, Leiweke described this as a "good day" for the Raptors.

"I think it's great for the Raptors, but I think the bigger winner today are the youth," he told reporters.

Leiweke says MLSE will put a focus on opening up the facility to community groups for camps and tournaments, as well as to Canada Basketball.

Mayor Rob Ford says he supports the facility, but he voiced concern over the rental fees for youth groups.

"There's no possible way these people would be able to afford it," Mayor Ford said, adding that he plans to put forward an amendment at council next week to address his concern.

Parking issues were also brought up during the executive committee. Placing the facility near the Medieval Times would mean the loss of 200 parking spaces at Exhibition Place.

Deputy mayor Norm Kelly added a few amendments that would see MLSE pay $2-million, matched by the city, to build a new parking facility.

Council will debate the matter at its meeting that starts on Monday.

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