10/25/2013 01:09 EDT | Updated 12/24/2013 05:12 EST

Toronto Community Housing shelves $2M office reno plan

Toronto Community Housing has shelved a proposal to spend $2 million on a renovation of its headquarters, nicer office furniture for its staff and bigger digs for its chief executive.

The public housing agency's board had questions about the plan at its meeting Thursday, and put it off.

"I don't think it's something that we can justify to either the taxpayers of the City of Toronto or our tenant base," said Coun. Maria Augimeri, who sits on the Toronto Community Housing Corporation board.

TCHC currently has a backlog of between $750 million and $1 billion in needed repairs at its more than 350 buildings.

The proposal called for TCHC to lease additional office space at 777 Bay St., plus spend $2 million renovating its headquarters at 931 Yonge St. and buying "more efficient" furniture, according to the meeting agenda.

Chief executive Gene Jones said he and his chief operating officer need more space to work, as do his staff.

"Look at my office, look at  the COO office — it looks like a little  manager's office, it's so small," Jones said. "My staff are sitting on top of each other, manoeuvring. They're trying to find a desk and so forth."

Waited months

The housing agency's tenants, however, want more money spent getting their apartments up to snuff.

"They have mice, they have big problems with the cockroaches and big problems with the bed bugs," said TCHC resident Tivadar Toth of units in his building.

Nazim Bushi, another tenant, said he has been waiting months to get his rotting kitchen cabinets repaired.

"Apartments like have to be clean, we don't have to live with the roaches and we don't have to live with the bed bugs," he said.

The TCHC board will reconsider the headquarters renovations at a meeting in December.