Trelawny Letters Consultation 2006-2011
Deputation-interview by Micheline Mc Kay, Arts Advocate Consultant for City Culture & Tourism- report to City Council. Re: Casa Loma Advisory Committee (CLAC) report.
Great grand Niece of Sir Henry & Lady Mary Pellatt- Casa Loma
1. History with project
As the Great grand niece of Sir Henry Pellatt who built Casa Loma in 1911-1914, I have always had a vested interest in the fate of Casa Loma.
In December 1999, I wrote to then Mayor Mel Lastman urging council to hold a public and open tender process to allow competition for the license of Casa Loma. The Kiwanis Club license was ending on September 30, 2001. The status quo prevailed with the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma (KCCL) license being extended for another five years to September 2006.
In the City’s licensing history for Casa Loma, there has never been a public ‘open tender’ democratic competitive process for Canada’s only landmark castle. The KCCL has had a monopoly for the governing of Casa Loma for over 70 years, since 1936.
With hopes of sharing my visions for Casa Loma, I was a member of Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma (KCCL) for 7 years (1999-2006). Their old status quo way of thinking was not open to any changes or improvements. Proper recognition for Sir Henry Pellatt’s legacy would diminish the Kiwanis Club’s tourist branding image as the champions of Toronto’s famous castle.
In February 2006, I resigned my membership, in order to advocate the restructuring of Casa Loma’s governance and utilization.
In the Spring 2005, I wrote a Magazine article, “Casa Loma’s Fate” (attached).
With my Casa Loma article, I went to see the city bureau reporters. This initiated the Globe and Mail and National Post to run Saturday edition full page articles on the status at Casa Loma.
Please refer to the website: www.CasaLomaTrust.ca
To view 24 articles & interviews archived of the Press coverage
I have initiated since June 2005 to present, with our national, local and
community newspapers and radio stations.
The full CLAC (Casa Loma Advisory Committee) reports and staff
reports are on the website.
Video clip of my deputation Monday June 12 /06 Economic Development Committee public meeting 9:30 am. (I was the only ‘public’ attendee speaking who was not associated with the Kiwanis Club).
June 2005 Stakeholders meeting
The Globe & Mail city bureau reporter notified me to attend this stakeholders meeting.
2nd meeting November 2005, was a public meeting, without any adequate notification given to the public as is provided in other public meetings. (Of the 100 attending only 9 persons were not members or associates of the Kiwanis Club)
At both meetings attendees were asked to fill in questionnaires, with each round table group’s summary read out.
Both meetings were held to present the city’s Casa Loma Advisory Committee’s (CLAC) and Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma (KCCL) reports and proposals to City staff.
Was your input heard?
There was not any opportunity for open public discussions, or the forum to address any questions that are normally held at public meetings. I did stress my concern over this.
The KCCL Promotional Material distributed at the meetings was made for their presentations to City Council and city staff for the request of a new 20-year license agreement with the city’s support and finances.
KCCL’s material had been retrieved from the information provided by CLAC.
A lot of the plans that I revealed in my press interviews for Casa Loma, were copied into Kiwanis future visions material. Kiwanis has hired public relations and marketing firms to create their promotional materials. Speeches were written for the Kiwanis members and their associates to read at the Economic Development public deputations meeting.
For the last 70 years the city has never held a public meeting for Casa Loma’s license agreement. The public were not informed of this first ever, public meeting. It was held at
9:30 am on Monday June 12th, during business hours when the public would be at work and therefore not available.
The CLAC report dated May 15th, 2006, was only released for public viewing on the Friday before Monday’s June 12th 2006 meeting of the Economic Development Committee.
Over 3 years since forming CLAC’s 7 member committee, chaired by Ron Kanter, (partner in law firm).
This CLAC report follows exactly the timeline they presented to council in March 2005, to recommend extending Kiwanis license agreement for 3.3 years to December 31, 2008.
Why did CLAC’S report take 3 years to present, only to then be ‘deferred’ at the Economic Development Committee meeting? Three Councilors voted to defer at the request of the Kiwanis Club, who strongly objected to the expiration of their license agreement by 2009.
Re: CLAC’s report May 15, 2006 pg. 25, 8.1 Implementation of governance authority. Step 2
(last paragraph) “Upon expiration of the current License Agreement between the City and the KCCL in December 2008, the Casa Loma Trust will assume governance authority for the Casa Loma Estate”.
2. Report CLAC- Casa Loma Advisory Committee
Over 3 years ago, in January 2004 Council requested the Commissioner of Economic Development Culture and Tourism, to appoint a citizen’s committee to inquire into Casa Loma’s operations and the $20 million dollars the city budgeted for Casa Loma’s restoration.
From the CLAC’s March 30, 2005 Report to Council on page 4, section # 5
2006- Year 1 of 5 year window to achieve vision + Municipal election
2007- Year 2 (left blank)
2008- Year 3 years (end) to which Kiwanis lease has been extended (currently)
2009- Year 4 (left blank)
2010- Year 5 VISION ACHIEVED
THE DECISION TO EXTEND KIWANIS LEASE AN ADDITIONAL 3.3 YEARS WAS MADE BY THE CLAC IN THIS MARCH 2005
TIMELINE REPORT, RECOMMENDATION TO COUNCIL.
At City Council’s June 2005 “in camera” private meeting Council voted to extend KCCL lease.
The Kiwanis leasing license was expiring in September 2006. Requiring the City to provide a 1 year advance notice to end or renew or extend their license. After so much press coverage you would think their expiring lease would have finally ended this 70 year licensing monopoly of approximately 10 year license renewals.
City Council suddenly held a private ‘in camera meeting’ in June 2005. Where Council voted to extend Kiwanis Club’s highly controversial and unaccountable license. Kiwanis license was extended another 3.3 years until 2009. In addition to this, Casa Loma’s Hunting Lodge Estate was given to the Kiwanis Club at no cost. City Council had voted privately to extend Kiwanis license agreement one full year prior to holding the only public deputation meeting held on Monday June 12, 2006 at 9:30 in the morning.
The Economic Development & Parks Committee, chaired by Mayor David Miller, had recommended to Council, NOT to EXTEND Kiwanis’s license. Recommending that during city’s restructuring of Casa Loma, Kiwanis license would be placed on a month by month period after their final year’s license had ended in September 2006.
However, City Council reacted to the threatening letter they received from the Kiwanis Club Chairman at this council meeting. Council’s Municipal Elections were also coming up at the same time, as the Kiwanis Club’s license was ending. Looking for votes and not wanting to change the status quo, Council voted to extend their lease license.
The Chairman of Kiwanis Club is a partner at Weirfoulds law firm. All rights to Casa Loma’s possessions have been trade-marked for Kiwanis Club ownership. Kiwanis claim they own all of Casa Loma’s donations, collections and furnishings that belonged to Sir Henry Pellatt.
There is NO adequate SECURITY to protect these irreplaceable treasured artifacts from being stolen from Casa Loma. With over 500,000 visitors annually, several irreplaceable valuables have been stolen during the 70 years in Kiwanis governance.
Points in report agree to:
The CLAC report advises new governance be formed by setting up another committee as the Transition Committee. This committee would then form a non- profit charitable organization, the Casa Loma Trust, to only assign rights by sublicenses after open and competitive process.
This report is the first step in the right direction that council has taken following my advocating since 1999, to inquire into Casa Loma’s operations, governance and accountability.
Generally I agree with the CLAC report summary and I am pleased to see that many of the issues I have been advocating for years, are finally now being addressed.
(CLAC report pages 6 & 10). The problems on page 6 of the report state that Casa Loma lacks governing responsibilities.
Report points I disagree with:
Page 12, Next Steps: There is a big ‘Conflict of Interest’ in the CLAC recommendations that the Kiwanis Club members be on the board selected to decide the future governance of the our city’s castle.
Why has it always been controlled by the Kiwanis Club from Detroit Michigan? Why are they controlling Toronto’s 2nd largest tourism attraction when it is not even in their international clubs mandate. The public think Kiwanis owns the castle due to the 70- years of Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma branding and promotional tourism materials. They have been governing control of our city’s 2nd largest tourism attraction without proper accountability to Torontonians.
How many years will it take the City to just allow our castle to be governed through a democratic open tender leasing process? The city must step in and ‘take back our castle’.
Casa Loma belongs to the people of Toronto.
The city only receives one third of the tourists’ fees and 7% of the revenues for venues held. The Kiwanis Club pays no taxes as it is not for profit charity organization. Yet only approx. $250,000. annually goes to their self interest charities from the $6 Million dollars received annually.
Other charities can raise that amount in one night without the City’s top tourist attractions to receive funds from. Toronto’s cash-cow-castle needs to be given back to Torontonians.
The city is spending over $20 million dollars in restoration. Plus the city pays for Casa Loma’s mechanicals to be maintained.
“Kiwanis goal as operator is to earn maximum dollars from tourists.” CLAC summary report on pg. 6.
Why has the CLAC report not revealed any financial statements or accountability during the past 70 years? Who is in control of what?
The CLAC report visions for Casa Loma have been well presented. I agree in general with the future structuring and visions being proposed.
Furthermore, I have several visions for Casa Loma operations, that I would like to present in a separate report for City Council.
In recognition of the many years I have dedicated advocating for Casa Loma’s future governance, I would like His Worship’s Council to consider me in their selection for members for the board of Casa Loma Trust.
With Sir Henry’s Pellatt’s Coat of Arms motto, “Foremost if I can” …The Casa Loma Connection is passionately within me, to do the best I can for Torontonians beloved Castle.
Please refer to website www.CasaLomaTrust.ca
Video tab for deputation at Economic Development Culture & Tourism Committee meeting June 12th 2006.
Thank you for this valuable opportunity to participate in CLAC’s interview report.
Tel: 416 927-9866
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