Toronto Zoo chief executive John Tracogna informed the board Thursday the original plan for a $16 million enclosure is more extravagant than is needed. The budget for the exhibit has been cut in half.
The original design was three to four times larger than what is actually needed, Tracogna said.
The local zoo and facilities in Calgary, Alta., and Granby, Que. are negotiating with China to obtain two pandas for 15 years. If the deal is approved, Toronto would be the first five-year stop on the panda’s Canadian tour, starting in 2012.
The zoo plans to issue its Request for Proposal in early 2011.
"We have always anticipated that future financing to move this project forward would be done to minimize the costs to both the Zoo and City of Toronto tax-payers," said Giorgio Mammoliti, the zoo's fundraising board chair.
© Kieron Nelson 2010 "Vanishing Cultures Photography"