Group behind St. Brigid’s church purchase denies ties to 'Freedom Convoy', says it's about peace and love
Plans to repurpose the St. Brigid's church property up for sale in Ottawa's Lowertown neighbourhood have been unveiled, and the group behind the project denies ties to the "Freedom Convoy", instead saying it’s all about peace and love.
The United People of Canada (TUPOC) are calling the new property, located at the corner of St. Patrick Street and Cumberland Street, their "Embassy."
"Just looking to create a unique and inclusive space where people of all different backgrounds and beliefs are welcome to participate in dialogue, participate in co-working, access a community cafe, venue space and we're hosting a number of community conversations," said William Komer, Director of TUPOC.
The organization says it is in the process of buying the property, which is listed for nearly $6 million.
Their largest financial backer is a London, Ont. financial adviser.
"The whole thing is to create a lot of love from our good example, hoping that these people will pass it along to their little world and eventually we hope to have locations around the world," said Tony Cuzzocrea, the President of Planmar Financial Corp.
Cuzzocrea wouldn’t specify how much money he has contributed, but admitted he is the project’s largest financial backer.
The TUPOC group has come under fire from some members of the community over support for the "Freedom Convoy."
"You look at their website and it's just platitudes. You know I can say peace and love, peace and love, but what really are you doing?" said Sylvie Bigras, President of the Lowertown Community Association.
One of the group's directors has admitted to being an adviser to Dwayne Lich, the partner of "Freedom Convoy" organizer Tamara Lich, but the group denies connections to the occupation.
"Someone is going around alleging that 3.2 million of 'Freedom Convoy' funds went to purchasing St. Brigid's church, that's completely false," said Komer.
"We are no way connected with them at all. We're good people with great intentions, only wanting to help mankind," added Cuzzocrea.
There are no plans to make major changes to the former St. Brigid’s Church, just to revitalize and repurpose it, the group said.