TORONTO - The Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS) between the TCDSB and Villa Charities Inc, was finally released. And with it, the first indications of “truth and fact” in the sordid plan to demolish the Columbus Centre and start a multi-billion-dollar condominium construction project in its place
Mind you, for obscure reasons, this was done on late Friday afternoon, just prior to the star of March Break, on the website of the Dante Alighieri Academy High School
(here is the link: https://www.tcdsb.org/schools/dantealighieri/NewConstruction/Documents/901LAWRENCEAVENUEWEST-SignedAPS-9June2015-r.pdf.)
It is a long document – 18 pages – because it includes the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Redevelopment of the Villa Charities campus, and site plans outlining the conditions to which the signators agree to fulfill. See “Appendix B” elsewhere on this page.
Several notes worthy of repetition need to be underlined.
First, the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS), accepted on June 9, 2015, is in addition to and does not replace the MOU concluded in 2012. The saga has been going on for six years.
Second, the signatories are Angela Gauthier, Director of Education for the TCDSB, and Palmacchio Di Iulio, CEO for Villa Charities Inc (and for Villa Charities).
They had the authority to bind the partners in in the MOU and in the APS.
Their successors – Rory Mc Guckin and [currently] Anthony Di Caita – could not and cannot act independently of their respective Boards of Trustees or Governors.
Whenever these individuals, organizations and their spokespeople make representations on the project they do so after referencing the APS. Any deviations from the contents are distortions of the truth - lies, if the reader prefers.
Third, Archdiocese, also known as the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation for the Diocese of Toronto, (RCEC) which owns St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church at the northeast corner of the campus, has an interest in the APS.
The church was to be relocated on the current site occupied by Regina Mundi elementary school (see page 7, art. 20, d).
Fourth, there are several conditions that must be met, all of them important but some more significant than others, or the APS fails. Chief among these is the requirement that the Provincial government provide $32 million to build the new school component of the joint use facility on the Northwest corner of the campus.
Of perhaps equal importance is the final approval of the Ontario Municipal Board and Municipal Council of a plan to sever the property and approve the condominium project (page 5, art. 19, a, f). Part of this includes the construction of a road, through the current Columbus Centre Rotunda, at shared cost.
Fifth, the APS always envisioned the Demolition of the Columbus Centre. Article 13, page 3, paragraph two: “vendor covenants ad agrees to demolish the buildings on the Property prior to the issuance of any building permit to the joint venture … fully service and grade the Property and make services available to the lot line … as required, to the satisfaction of the Purchaser…”
Having said the above, the issue is not completely closed.
Even though the Provincial Government has withdrawn approval for the joint venture, little stands in the way of the other participants from devising a different Plan and going ahead with a revised condominium project.
They would have to start from the beginning.
With the TCDSB now out of the picture (in the foreseeable future, at any rate) the guaranteed funds for feasibility studies and “development concepts” would have to come from another source.
Three million dollars have been spent so far in the pursuit of a failed plan.
Several hundred thousand more on public relations (admittedly, an estimate arrived at by tabulating advertising costs for radio, tv and print media; the frequency of the spots and the production costs; glossy brochures postage for delivery, etc.).
A further one hundred and two thousand for an “orchestrated” consultation process. On-going website management fees and imputed professional resource costs running in the tens of thousands of dollars must also be factored in.
Especially the amounts directed towards discrediting news outlets like the Corriere Canadese or ratepayer and community groups with accusations of spreading fear and fake news.
The self inflicted reputational damage by the leadership of Villa Charities, the TCDSB and yes even the Diocese will not easily be repaired.
It will worsen if the perpetrators of that damage, like Cundari, Manarin, Perfetto, Di Caita, Rizzo and others can’t locate the exit doors – quickly.
(to be continued)