Columbus Centre-VCI: we need people who do not apologize for being Italian

di Joe Volpe del October 20, 2017

 TORONTO -  Villa Charities Inc (VCI) and the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) seem to be afflicted by the newly discovered disease of “Trumpian Logic”: If I can make money, nothing else matters – I will always be right!

No ethics, no morals, no “spirit of the law” obligations, no considerations of wider consequential issues resulting from your actions. In Italian politics, that “thought process” is epitomized by the “vaffa …” Party. Regrettably it has a significant following. In the USA, it succeeded in electing its standard bearer, albeit dressed in a Republican uniform.
For both, facts don’t matter. When uncomfortable facts do surface, these people prefer to address the inconvenient ones with “communications strategies” designed to diminish the importance of “values” and give greater significance to their own “alternative truth”.
VCI is determined to tear down the Columbus Centre and the Villa Colombo (now a chronic care and long-term care facility – totally funded by the Provincial government). 
Why? Because land prices, the real estate market and City Planning combined have the capacity to turn the Villa Charities campus into a multi billion-dollar gold mine. It is a temptation too rich to resist by those who have seized control of a not-for-profit, charitable, community organization.
They have found a willing partner in the TCDSB, which is prepared to mitigate the loss of the Columbus Centre and its significance to the Italian-Canadian community of the GTHA, by building a shared-used high school facility, thanks to the “generous” gift of a $32.8 million dollars by the province.
The behind-the-scenes transactions to pay for and swap land to justify the construction of a THIRD school in on the site, in the context of declining enrollment, make sense only to those who have an objective that goes beyond community service and educational outcomes.
Neither the TCDSB nor VCI have justified their “project” to the public with a rationale that addresses a need, fulfills any long-term objective or proposes a “vision”. VCI claims that it is too expensive to update the infrastructure deficiencies at the Centre and at the Villa, which, they claim, depending on the time of day, to be $8 million and $15 million respectively.
After 40 years, the Villa Charities Foundation has liquid assets of barely $ 8 million, not counting income from government-built and subsidized towers such as Caboto Terrace, Casa Del Zotto and Centro Abruzzo. 
Instructed by a resolution of Toronto City Council to engage in meaningful public engagement, VCI sent out an email blast inviting recipients to a “chat”, bought a full-page ad in the Canadian Jewish News, continues to spend $20, 000 on advertorials in a Montreal-based magazine, and sent out, via Canada Post, sticker-like flyers telling people to “reimagine”.
Imagine what could be accomplished if the VCI Board resigned and made room for people who do not apologize for being Italian and who might be committed to community and public service. After all, those two qualities are responsible for the legacy the current VCI wants to bury under a mini-city of condos and townhouses.

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