“I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the board. I am a graduate of this system and a great believer in catholic education and a great defender of catholic rights. At the same time I am a third generation Italian Canadian who is very very proud of the Columbus Centre, whose family played a crucial role in its founding and expended thousands of hours, volunteer hours, assisting the centre.
Now you’ve heard people talk about the benefits of the centre and I’m not going to do that because I have five questions for this board.
The first question is why would this board participate in a project which will destroy its centre for a community which has been an important part of your base, financially and politically, for over a century?
Secondly, why would the board entertain a project which the vast majority of the community rejects?
Thirdly, why would the board take such a political risk at the expense of an important part of your base when denominational rights are being threatened at this particular time?
Fourth, why would the board risk alienating an important part of its base in order to partner with an organization which just sees see dollars with the building of condos at the expense of the members and at the expense of the residents of the Villa Colombo and so on.
Finally, why would a catholic board participate in a project which would destroy a beautiful green campus at the expense of the residents of Villa Colombo and of the other residences on the campus?
The older citizens should not be trumped by 30 story condos.
The original founders of the Columbus Centre and Villa Charities intended this to be a social and community centre, not a profit-making centre as the present owners, or, excuse me, directors of the Villa Charities think.
I looked at your website and I found under your mission statement your environmental commitment that says: “The board believes the critical role that our catholic schools play in providing leadership and direction for the protection and conservation of the environment”.
Knocking down beautiful trees at the expense of our senior citizens is not environmental responsibility. Two of the most important democratic values are transparency and accountability.
This two values have been clearly lacking with Villa Charities. However this board is a creature of statute and must act in accordance with the law.
Most importantly you are accountable to your supporters, and in closing, let me tell you that if you continue with this project an important part of your base to whom you are politically accountable, will be sorely betrayed.
The decision is yours.