The letter from MPP Laura Albanese to Premier Wynne
TORONTO - Dear Premier, I write to you on behalf of constituents and members of the Italian-Canadian community living in the GTA - many of whom have benefited historically and continue to do so daily from the services provided by the Columbus Centre - and in support of the letter, dated January 24, 2018, addressed to you by MPP Mike Colle.
The Columbus Centre, located in the riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, was built thanks to the great determination and generosity of many Italian-Canadians. For decades, it has represented the heart of this community and reflected the history of Italian-Canadians in our province.
Over the years, it has been the fulcrum of significant and important events, informing, enlightening and inspiring the community.
People from around the world of all cultural backgrounds have admired and lauded the Columbus Centre as a model of Canadian multiculturalism.
Today, the many activities that this institution offers remain relevant and necessary to people of all ages who depend on it for: language courses for the youth, dance classes, the fitness centre, the art gallery, the restaurant, the daycare centre and the tennis courts.
The grounds and beautiful gardens that encompass the Columbus Centre are a veritable oasis in a busy urban environment.
Nothwithstanding the financial challenges that not-for-profit institutions such as the Columbus Centre face going forward, the current proposed plan, which would entail the demolition of the Centre, is in my opinion and in that of a large part of the community unwise and unwarranted.
Moreover, the decision-making process has been opaque, further alienating stakeholders.
I strongly believe that the organization needs to work more closely with the community at large.
It is only by involving its regular members and working together with all stakeholders who consider the Columbus Centre an important part of their lives that Villa Charities would be able to formulate an amenable and accountable proposal with an effective view to the future.
M.P.P. York South-Weston