Corriere Canadese

City Hall may object to Villa Charities’s project
TORONTO - The City Hall takes action in the controversial situation regarding the project on the Columbus Centre’ demolition and the construction of a shared-facility with Dante Alighieri Academy.
The City Planning Division recommends to the Municipal Council to authorize the City Solicitor along with other expert members of City Hall to appear before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and oppose the modification of the Zoning By-law number 17 102913 NNY 15 OZ as it applies to sites at the 901 Lawrence Avenue West, 3050 and 3010 Dufferin Street and 40 Playfair Avenue.
A date has not been scheduled yet but the position of City Hall has a crucial bearing on this arm wrestling between Villa Charities and the Toronto Catholic District School Board on the one side and the community on the other side.
After having witnessed the growing public dissatisfaction, Villa Charities and the TCDSB decided to accelerate the steps needed for the project’s final approval and for the Columbus Centre’s demolition and the construction of new 4 floor shared use facility by the Community Centre and Dante Alighieri High School.
This OMB’s appeal is seen as just an attempt to shut the community’s voice up, by compelling it to accept the provincial authority’s decision. An affirmative response by the OMB would indicate a green light to begin with the Columbus Centre’s demolition project, while a negative response could put a definitive end on this situation.
The Community is manifesting irritation with this appeal, interpreting it as “blow below the belt” since the particulars of the project have been kept secret until few months ago. Now that Villa Charities and the Catholic Board have had to come out in the open, the community is loath to accept a proposal that seems to masquerade huge economic interests from an unwilling public.
As many observes point out, for forty years Columbus Centre has represented a reference point for the Italian-Canadian community, for those who love the Italian lifestyle and for all those who frequent the facility- the gym, the swimming pool, the Italian language, art and cooking courses - the Alberto Di Giovanni Library, the Carrier Art Gallery, Boccaccio Restaurant and Caffè Cinquecento. And the list goes on.
It is important to take into account the fact that Italian-Canadians built it, with effort sacrifice and great pride. Meanwhile, Tuesday June the 13th at 11:30am, the New York Community Council will meet at the Council Chambers of North York Civic Centre (5100 Yonge Street) to discuss the designation of Columbus Centre as an “historical site” or “site of cultural value” for the Italian Community.
If the Community succeeds in obtaining the heritage recognition of the facility’s architectural and social value, the potential demolition of the building at the 901 Lawrence Avenue would be compromised. It is up to the Community to attend in large numbers.
Moreover, those who want to make themselves heard can sign up on the speaker’s list. Each intervenor is allowed five minutes each. Those interested need to call 416-395-0480, or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Monday June the 12th at midday.
 

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