The Comment

Incompetence or malice? Destructive, nonetheless

TORONTO – The story emerging from auditor Tara Anderson’s report on Toronto City Hall highlights practices of waste and fraud that should beg citizen outrage. This is the same institution that just gifted its citizen-property owners with a 9.5% increase in taxes. (see M. Policheni’s Feb. 26, 2024, Frode a City Hall, dipendenti licenziati).

It is a culture that must permeate the Toronto Catholic District School Board, with impunity. The Corriere Canadese has been following its saga since it was beneficiary of a $30 million Provincial allocation to “rebuild” the Dante Alighieri Academy at Dufferin and Lawrence in 2016. Free money?

The process attracted speculative plans to demolish buildings (schools and longterm care centre) on site and erect multi generational, multipurpose buildings – five condominium towers and reconstruct a High School which facilities might also function as a community centre after hours. The TCDSB bought an adjacent convent (for demolition and land swap $22 million) from one order of nuns and threatened expropriation of another to facilitate construction of condos etc., after it bought the Columbus Centre for $25 million.

The community rebelled. The Church “hedged its bets”; the TCDSB withdrew its expropriation threat; project floundered. The province decided to “walk away” from it all. The community succeeded in having the entire address designated as a Heritage site. Goodbye condo project… Maybe.

Following the 2018 provincial election, taking advantage of a new –“friendly” – Minister an equally new local MPP, the TCDSB proposed a different use for the site. We have reported on it and the unexplainable mixture of circumstances emerging from and revolving around decision pertaining to the plans for the Dante campus – the Elementary School and the Longterm Care Centre.

Were the Corriere so inclined, it could run the newspaper solely on the innuendo, facts, speculations associated with the alleged breach of ethics attributed to the associated individuals. Many of them seek the “of the record” umbrella. The TCDSB seeks other avenues.

We rely on publicly available financial records,  like the pre-Christmas Staff report indicating that a $100 million surplus hand been turned into a $58 million deficits during the four-year administration of the current Director. The student population has plummeted in that period from the 90,000+ to just over 82, 000. Statistics Canada says the birth rate among child-bearing women is a mere 1.3, when sustainability without immigration is 2.1 (see graph, Corriere Feb. 26, 2024). The Federal government is reducing immigration. The Director still has his job.

Last month, a group of concerned parents from the Regina Mundi elementary School community published and open letter venting their anger and disappointment at the deplorable conditions surrounding the move Dante, next door.

Now there are “plans” for the demolition of the elementary school… to begin with five weeks, according an email sent out to that effect. It is a long story, but it prompted research from someone schooled in forensic processes: “there is still no permit for the new school and there still no word on the Ministry having approved the additional funds that [are] needed to build a new high school”.

Email requests to the Director from the Corriere were unanswered at time of going to print.

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