TORONTO - Imagine paying $102,000 to a Consultant with the expectation that it produce a document that would justify YOUR project in the eyes of the authorities whose approvals YOU need to steamroll despite public outcry.
Imagine, again, that your own Board of Trustees sets a benchmark for that Consultant in a formal MOTION indicating that such a document be accompanied by a recommendation demonstrating “overwhelming support” in the community for YOUR project, or it be cancelled.
Imagine ANY Consultant able to ignore at least ten public meetings and demonstrations [combined] involving literally thousands of protesters supported by at least 50 articles and/or letters published in a DAILY newspaper with a distribution from Windsor to Oshawa and an online presence with over 90,000 hits per day.
What do you think the Consultant’s report said?
Start with …”the future of the joint redevelopment project is uncertain at time of this writing..” No kidding?
So, what does the Consultant – commissioned at $102,000 to show “overwhelming support” – recommend?
1. REBUILD trust with the community … [by, among other tactics] developing Accountability and Transparency...”
2. ESTABLISH a Working Group that is broadly representative of the community…
3. INVOLVE the community meaningfully and directly in the full cycle of the design process…
4. PROVIDE adequate time, space and review … during and after consultation, not before, or separately. None of these four in evidence during the first go ’round.
Nowhere is there a mention of level of support, except for reference to a much maligned and discredited telephone survey conducted exclusively in English and whose sample demographic virtually excluded the population adjacent to the Villa Colombo Campus – the users and neighbours most affected by YOUR project.
At the very least, one would expect that the TCDSB, which commissioned the study, would revert to paragraph two above and cancel the redevelopment deal, as per its own binding Motion.
But, we are talking about a Catholic Board under the spell of Trustee Rizzo, whose followers preferred to acquiesce to her request to hold out hope for a reversal at a later date.
This is the same group who last month voted to end discretionary transportation services to some 7,000 students in their system in order to save $1,000,000.
Staff had indicated in their briefing notes that there is a significant risk that up to 60% of those children could go to a competing Board of Education.
At just under $12,000 in government grants per student registered, this represents a potential total loss of 4,200 students and $50 million, 400 thousand to save one million. Would you do that?
You might, if your top bureaucrat, Director Rory McGuckin, were to tell you this is somehow a risk worth taking.
You are also voting on an Executive compensation package that will reward him and Senior Staff handsomely.
Meanwhile, the Consultant’s Report essentially washes its hands. It advises that the partners “deliver TWO additional Telephone Surveys to both broaden and deepen quantitative data. The first one, at $25, 000.00, wasn’t enough!