In March this year, members and organizations of the Tamil community in the Greater Toronto Area held a consensus event to initiate the process for the construction of a Tamil Community Centre. The consensus event was attended and supported by representatives from municipal, provincial and federal government. At this event, a Steering Committee was struck by the Tamil community to oversee the feasibility process for the design, construction and operation of a community centre. It was intended that the TCC be a dynamic, innovative, multi-purpose, and non-denominational facility incorporating spaces and services to help address the current and growing needs of the diverse Tamil community. The aim was also to reflect the community’s commitment to creating a safer, accessible, and environmentally sustainable space.
The committee set to work creating an online consultation tool, which they launched on a bilingual website http://tamilcentre.ca/ where they also presented their findings, updates and minutes of their meetings. At the subsequent Town Hall in August, the Committee reported the results thus far of their surveys and reported on their engagement with elected officials to move the project forward. Through their engagement with the Mayor’s Office and the City of Toronto, they came upon an opportunity to secure land in north east Scarborough for the project by the late spring of 2020. They presented the need to incorporate using the current members of the Steering Committee, in order to enter into a Letter of Intent agreement with the City and receive the land. The location of the land will be in the North East area of Scarborough, which has been shown to be the area most densely populated by Tamils. The location will also be easily accessible for Tamils residing in the Markham area.
At a press conference held on the 9th of October, the Committee announced that they were at an exciting juncture in the process. The provincial and federal governments have opened a funding opportunity, the Community, Culture and Recreation stream, under the federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. It is due November 12. The community centre project could receive 73% of the cost of construction from the governments. The Steering Committee has been busy working on this application. They have also begun the process of registering the charitable status of the projected community centre.
At this moment, the Steering Committee is requesting the help of the community and reached out to media to get the word out. They consider this funding a once in a lifetime opportunity. The Steering Committee needs the community’s support to apply for this Canadian provincial and federal funding. The project cost is $40 million. The community needs to show that we can raise our contribution of $10.8 million for this project. The Steering Committee is asking people in the community with the means to do so, to sign a pledge letter saying they would pledge money to the project. This does not mean that the money is required right away, but rather the pledge reflects the community’s support and interest in making the project happen.
If you or someone you know has the means to sign a pledge letter, want more information or details on this process, please contact the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
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