“Loretto Abbey, misleading behaviour from the TCDSB”

di corriere canadese del February 20, 2020

I participated in the “public consultation” at Loretto Abbey on January 30 and I have been following your coverage of the TCDSB and its relocation plan for Loretto Abbey and Dante Alighieri. Your coverage has been entirely too lenient.

First, you did not indicate that the Board conducted a meeting with Loretto Abbey staŽ on February 7, even though the Report to the Board says that such a meeting recently took place to discuss relocation. More importantly, it adds that more than 85% of staŽ "supported relocation”. This should not surprise anyone. StaffŽ have been working in these conditions and breathing in the potentially toxic air at Loretto Abbey for years. Health concerns have been raised for many years.

The TCDSB paid for an expert engineering report that concluded more than $40 Million would be required to complete repairs to not only the heating system, but also the electrical, mechanical, structural, plumbing and other systems. These repairs are not optional, they are required. However, the stffaŽ report to board misleads Trustees into believing the $4 Million for the heating system repairs will complete all the required repairs at Loretto Abbey.

Second, the financial savings and impacts of relocation are significant by the TCDSB’s own assessment. The TCDSB report claims a 10%-15% reduction in the cost of repairs could be found if the school is relocated and repairs are done simultaneously and without students in the building; but the report fails to circle back to the engineering reports that estimates the cost of work needed at between $30 million (as identified in 2012) and $45 million (2017). 10% or 15% of that is a substantial savings. We are talking about millions of dollars here in savings for taxpayers. Putting this work oŽ will waste taxpayer dollars.

Third, Senior staŽ repeatedly claimed on January 30 that TCDSB does not need Ministry approval to complete any of the repairs. However, the report admits that funding for most of the repairs at the Abbey were requested from the Ministry, and TCDSB has not received Ministry approval.

Fourth, it is very unclear whether TCDSB ever warned parents about the potential health concerns from asbestos at Loretto Abbey as the engineering report directed the Board to do, many years ago. Perhaps parents who currently support remaining at Loretto Abbey are simply unaware of the specific health concerns that they should have been warned about.

I find that the TCDSB’s representation of the TOTAL cost of repairs, health concerns and liability from those health concerns to be at best misleading. That may be why the initial Report to Board in January recommended relocation.

Corriere seems reluctant to take a more direct approach. Consequently, the dysfunction between staŽ and some trustees at TCDSB will continue.

Ken Lister

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