CASA
COLUMBUS ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION

PLANNING QUESTIONS FOR JUNE 1, 2017 MEETING



1- Why construct a new Columbus Centre at this time?

 

2 - What other options were considered?

 

3 - Why were plans for the rezoning submitted to the city before they were complete?

 

4. Why were the plans rejected by the city?

 

5. Why is a joint venture with Dante Alighieri Secondary School necessary to this project?

 

6. Who are the developers most actively involved in this proposed construction?

 

7. The Columbus Centre land was given as a grant by the Province of Ontario for the sole purpose of establishing a not-for-profit community centre overseen by a board of directors.  Are Villa Charity boards expected to act in a transparent manner for the benefit of the community?

 

8. What board members voted to proceed with this construction?

 

8. When was the vote taken to proceed with this construction?

 

9. How was the community consulted and informed before the vote was taken?

 

10. Was the inconvenience of the proposed construction for the 4,000 Columbus Centre members and the hundreds of tenants in the senior residences owned by Villa Charities on this property taken into consideration?

 

11. Why were elderly tenants in Caboto Towers & Casa Del Zotto only informed of the proposed construction on May 31, 2017?

 

12.  Why have the total plans for all the land owned by the Columbus Centre and the school not been made public?

 

13. Why does the new roadway plan submitted show it would be an access road for 2,000 condo units?

 

14. Why did the Archdiocese two years ago plan on having the church torn down by 2020?

 

25. Why has Cardinal Collins now said it will never be torn down during their 50 year lease?

 

15.  How much is the proposed construction estimated to cost?

 

16.  How is the proposed building going to be paid for?

 

17.  The Catholic School Board is a public institution answering to elected officials.  What was the date that their board debated and approved this development? 

 

18.  How was the public informedof this important issue by the  school board before the vote?

 

19.  Is the lawyer handling the OMB submission for Villa Charities aware that the community was not consulted about this construction before  the submission was made to the city?

 

CLUB QUESTIONS

 

20. Why do the plans show no  (1) squash courts (2) racquetball courts (3) tennis courts (4) whirlpools (5) men's Health Club steam room (6) Men's or Women's lounge/TV room (7) no Men's small Health Club gym (8) no Women's small Health Club gym (8) separate saunas for Men and Women's Health Club (10) dedicated small lockers for each member.

 

21.  Is it proposed that the students will share locker space with the members?

 

22. Why would the development of the new building be announced before suitable temporary quarters had been established to accommodate the 4,000 members in the same manner that they are now accommodated?

 

23. Why does not one member from the 4,000 Columbus Centre members sit on the board of Villa Charities?

 

24.  Why are Villa Charities board members not elected annually to the board of this not for profit charity by the community that they are expected to serve?

 

25.  If the Columbus Centre board did not fully participate in the planning for the new Columbus Centre, why are there three separate boards reporting to Villa Charities?

 

26. Why was CASA (The Columbus Athletic & Social Association) that represents the community that Villa Charities and the Columbus Centre serves denied access to the email list of all members and disallowed from posting notices on club bulletin boards about the proposed construction?

 

27. Are there any directors with conflicts of interest in this proposed development now serving on the 3 boards?

 

28. Why have Villa Charities opted to go to the Ontario Municipal Board before the community they serve and the city they reside in have been fully informed and have had a chance to debate the planned construction and zoning changes?

 

29.  Why is Villa Charities opposed to the Columbus Centre being a designated heritage site for Ontario's Italian community?

 

PARKING QUESTIONS

 

30.  How many more spots, than now exist, will be available solely to Columbus Centre members between 5 AM and 10 PM each day?

 

32. How many of these spots will be shared with the school during the day?

 

33.  Funerals, weddings, company meeting room rentals and other events open to the public can result in no parking spots being available for the 4,000 club members.  How is this problem going to be controlled?

 

POLITICAL REALITIES

 

34. Shared facilities with the school will result in conflicts.  What body will arbitrate disputes and how will the 4,000 members be represented on this body?

 

35.  The elderly tenants in the your senior residences now have easy access to the existing park and green space.  How will their safety of this access be assured during the construction?

 

36. What access to park land and green space, is it proposed they will they have access to after the construction?

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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION LETTER WITHHOLDING $32,800,000




        

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Summary of CASA meeting with Villa Charities on June 1, 2017 at 6:30 PM



CASA Attendees: Susan Kulzycki, Joseph Baglieri, Hessie Rimon, Gino Tupone, Lawrence Pincivero, Sid Paul, Paul Cavaluzzo, Angelo Scioscia, Ian MacDonald, Pat Oppedisano. 


Villa Charities Attendees:  CEO, Anthony DiCaita; CFO, Marco DuVuono. VP Marketing, Mary Pompili.


Ian MacDonald opened the meeting with by saying that the plans for the new Columbus Centre were not well received by members and it forced members to join with the larger, outside community against any development of the lands for private profit. He said that CASA had brought a number of questions that he hoped whose answers might justify why Villa Charities had made the decision to merge with Dante Alighieri Secondary School in the construction of a new athletic centre. (SEE THE 36 QUESTIONS BELOW) He then turned the meeting over to Paul Cavaluzzo to ask the prepared questions.


Anthony DiCaita took immediate objection to our referring to those who used the athletic facilities as "members".  He said they were not members but were "consumers of a product".  The Columbus Centre was a vendor and the 4,000 members were just clients with no greater rights to participate in or control the destiny of the vendor than any other supplier of services they might purchase.


He then went on to discuss how expensive it was to operate such an old facility as the Columbus Centre and that the joint venture with the school was an opportunity to share resources and lower operating costs.  Other joint successful joint ventures were referred to but he was unable to identify who they were but stated they would be identified.


DiCaita confirmed that new directors of Villa Charities were appointed by the existing directors and had no obligation to report on the decisions they made to members or anyone else.  They take no money from the government or any other outside organisations and are thus not required to report to anyone. 


Angelo, speaking as a former teacher said there would be a culture clash between the seniors and the high school students.  He wanted to know how they would be segregated.  DiCaita described what was planned.


Lawrence enquired as to why all the fundraising events that used to take place years ago had ceased and wondered why they had, if they now needed funding.  He also described how important the Columbus Centre was and had been to the entire Italian community in Ontario for almost 40 years. 


DiCaita described how there would be a triple gym for basketball and volleyball on the school side of the building and the fitness equipment would be on the Columbus side.  Times would be agreed on as to when each group would have access to each other's facilities.  


He also confirmed there would be no health club and all the facilities that now go with them.  He did not know why they had not been included in the plans. 


90 days had elapsed since they forwarded their site plan to the city.  This meant they could use that delay as an reason to forward their plan to the OMB.   This was further motivated by changes taking place at the OMB which may not have made this possible at a later date.


The school board would be buying the property from Villa Charities and would own the building in which the New Columbus Centre would reside.  The Columbus Centre did not have the  $50,000,000 required to build the facility on their own.  The sale can only be closed if certain conditions are met.


They are looking at more green space and protected walkways that do not appear in the current plans.


The building will not be torn down until 2018.  No temporary facility has been located.


Lawrence and Angelo made it clear we did not want the high school students in the Columbus Centre.  DiCaita informed them only 20% of the Columbus Centre members were over 64 years of age and they provided services to all age greoups.


After DiCaita and his group left the room, the meeting carried on for another hour.  City councillors were now said to be on our side. The school board is sensitive to public opinion so every effort must be made to get through to them via the media.


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The Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery is one of the largest and best designed art galleries in Canada. Its winding ramps gracefully encircle the the viewing levels of a rotunda.  Natural light pours in from a giant round  skylight to display the works of art at their very best. If the Columbus Centre were torn down this remarkable treasure would not only be a loss to Toronto but to the art world.

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The un-elected board of Villa Charities, without consulting the 4,000 members of the Columbus Centre, voted to destroy a heritage site that the leaders in the Italian community have created over 30 years.  The founders understood that the building and the beautiful parkland would stand forever as a monument to the incredible contribution of Italian immigrants in making Toronto the world class city it now is.  If the city councilors do not stop this development everything you see below will disappear: the beautiful parkland, the tennis courts, the quiet patio surround by mature trees and wide lawns, the coffee shop, etc. 


This destruction is both immoral and unnecessary.

CASA

Columbus Athletic & Social Association

VIDEO OF THE NORTH YORK COUNCIL MEETING ON JUNE 13, NOW AVAILABLE

Go to YouTube.com and enter "NY COUNCIL CC MEETING" into the search pane.

You will be astounded to hear Member of the Ontario Parliament, Mike Colle, using harsh language to describe Villa Charities and the Toronto Catholic School Board.  His remarks are then fully supported by various city councilors and Columbus Centre members.  The Villa Charity directors and the situation are referred to as being:  shameful, less than honest, a trojan horse, showing a lack of respect for the Columbus Centre founders and the Italian community, calls are made for the directors resignation from the Villa Charity board, etc. 

The unanimous conclusion by this council was that the city will not support a change to the zoning and they recommended that the city fight it, at their expense, if this battle goes in front of the Ontario Municipal Board.  They also fully supported making the Columbus Centre a heritage site.

On the evening of the 15th of June three Columbus Centre members also presented to the Toronto Catholic School Board their objection to the joint Columbus Centre/Alighieri facility.

At a June 16th member rally in front of the Columbus Centre, MPP, Mike Cole presented members with a letter from the Ontario Minister of Education stating that the $32,800,000 designated to go towards building a new Dante Alighieri school was no longer going to be just freely handed over to the Catholic School Board in view of the community discontent with the proposed joint facility.  To view this letter, visit the CASA page at informus.ca

After viewing the video, you will come away with a greater respect for politicians, our democratic process and more charged than ever to save the Columbus Centre as a heritage site.

Not receiving CASA emails? Please send your email address to casa@informus.ca