TORONTO - Villa Charities has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertorials, mailouts, advertisements and in Consultants just to convince the public that they are “the keepers of the holy grail.”
They have not gotten the response they hoped, so they have taken to their website to press down on their message.
The kindest observation that one can make regarding the latest posting on the Villa Charities website is: “They must have lost their mind(s).”
The small cabal that has seized control of a once vibrant, community-oriented, not-for-profit, charitable organization is now focused exclusively on land development for private profit. In the process, they have isolated themselves, completely, from anything remotely resembling “community interest”. Their mantra is “highest and best use” – squeeze the most profit available - from property. It’s fine, if you have only one objective, one goal; and if you have uncontested, legitimate ownership of a parcel of land for that development. This latter point is highly doubtful, and probably overdue for a contest in Court.
Or, perhaps if Villa Charities (the YOU, in this case) were to present a proposal for enhanced facilities and programs that would capture the imagination and convince the Community that “what is now theirs can flower into something more.”
That is not what happened in the Toronto Catholic School Board/Villa Charities Inc project.
Villa’s own Consultants released a final Report on January 31 effectively summarizing there was no discernable evidence of any Community-oriented proposal, nor any legitimate plan to engage the Community or win over its support.
The concept of building an oversized, over-priced high school on the site of the Columbus Centre lit no sparks of imagination. In fact, because the plan would allow for the construction of at least three condominium towers comprising 3,000 units, with no discernable Community benefit, it ignited public anger and hostility. The Consultants, probably concerned with their own professional integrity as well, effectively told Villa Charities: Reset, start over again; and, this time, do it right!
How did Villa Charities respond? The Cabal “turtled”.
Then it whined that the Community “has alienated many of us”. It went on in paroxysms of self-pity, concluding that, “we have driven many of our past supporters to the sidelines and new ones are reluctant to get involved.” Hello???
For an organization that bills itself as the “voice of the community” that’s a strange leadership style. Blame the victim, as it were. And lash out at anyone who points out the obvious with accusations of harbouring “hidden agendas”, “lining (sic) up votes”, “journaling (sic) lies”, “pretense” and “manipulation”.
Villa spares no hectoring and lecturing: “The Italian Community has demonstrated the ‘worst’ elements of our culture. People have been lied to, bullied, intimidated and discriminated against by age, gender and religion,” it intones. Of course, the Cabal can say and do whatever to assuage its delicate sensitivities. But, an unprecedented critical mass of MPs, MPPs, City Councillors, Community activists, members of the Social and Health Club facilities, neighbours, writers from near and afar have been almost unanimously against Villa’s partnership with the Catholic School Board to tear down the Columbus Centre.
Yet the Villa executive continues to rail against any and all who might oppose them with a merciless invective that serves only to raise suspicions of malodorous conduct.