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LETTERS: HVRA still on board for CTS plan

March 9th, 2016 · No Comments

Past chair responds to February editorial

Re “Ship to wreck” (Editorial, February 2016): you claim that former opponents of the dome at Central Technical School continued to work actively against the construction of the dome even after they had signed on to the Minutes of Settlement. That settlement was the result of successful mediation at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) between Razor Management Inc., the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), and five other parties. You name the former opponents as the City of Toronto and the Harbord Village Residents’ Association (HVRA). It would appear that the trigger for the editorial was the news that Razor Management had ceased work because it was being assessed $600,000 in tax arrears on a similar dome at Monarch Park Collegiate Institute.

The whole tenor of the editorial is to paint the HVRA as subverting the agreement reached at the OMB

The following sentence from your editorial sets the overall tone:

“It appears, however, that opponents of the deal, after conceding the battle, never gave up the war.”

The whole tenor of the editorial is to paint the HVRA as subverting the agreement reached at the OMB. That is a terrible accusation and it stings, especially as there is not one bit of truth to the notion. The record shows that we at the HVRA have fought diligently for the implementation of the Minutes of Settlement, including construction of the dome, the track, and the community public space at the corner of Harbord and Bathurst streets.

We are mystified by this assertion for one thing, but also find it particularly pernicious because if what you said were true, we would be in breach of our written commitment at the OMB to support the Minutes of Settlement.

For the record:

  • We (and everyone else) have to abide by the two-level court decision to declare the dome a commercial use, but these decisions were made well before the mediation at the OMB;
  • Far from conducting a war against the dome, the HVRA has actively supported Razor Management post Minutes of Settlement, including negotiating dimensional and design changes in a shared use parkette and supporting an upgrade to a more expensive and less toxic cork field material;
  • HVRA provided the baseline Terms of Reference for the Facilities Management Committee that would provide advisory assistance in the operation of the dome;
  • Razor and the HVRA have been in constant and collaborative contact since the Minutes of Settlement were signed;
  • Razor Management’s responsibility for taxes was in its contract with the TDSB from the beginning and has nothing to do with us. That notwithstanding, HVRA wrote to the TDSB in support of the TDSB assisting in providing some level of tax relief to Razor, recognizing a part of its operation included community benefit; and,
  • We speak regularly to the proprietor of Razor. He understands our interest is seeing that the agreements made at the OMB are carried out, as they are the legal requirements for him to build and operate, just as HVRA is legally required to support them and ensure they are respected.

This manifestly is not the behaviour of an organization that was continuing some kind of “war” against the dome or “someone [who] would prefer to see Razor fail under the weight of the tax burden”.

In short, after the Minutes of Settlement were reached, there was no war that the HVRA continued — period, full stop. HVRA was committed, and still is, to the solution offered by the Minutes of Settlement. The February 2016 editorial screams duplicity and bad-dealing on the part of the HVRA, and the record must be set straight.

Rory “Gus” Sinclair, Past chair, HVRA

 

READ MORE ABOUT CENTRAL TECH FIELD:

Construction halted at Central Tech: Student athletes launch online petition by Marielle Torrefranca (February 2016)

Agreement reached for Central Tech field (April 2015) by Annemarie Brissenden

To dome or not to dome, that is the question (February 2015) by Terri Chu

Editorial: Mobs don’t rule, nor do pawns (February 2015)

Dome plan inches closer (February 2015) by Brian Burchell

School board appeals ruling and loses, again (October 2014) by Brian Burchell

Editorial: A strategy run amok (September 2014)

Dome plan quashed by courts (September 2014) by Brian Burchell

Raucous meeting on CTS field (April 2014) by Annemarie Brissenden

 

READ MORE ABOUT CENTRAL TECH:

Central Tech alumni return to mark school’s centennial (November 2015) by Annemarie Brissenden

Central Tech celebrates 100 years (July 2015) by Annemarie Brissenden

Aircraft program grounded in 2004 (July 2015) by Annemarie Brissenden

Tags: Annex · Opinion