Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Timothy Eaton meeting notes

Thank you Trustee Wong for hosting a lively public meeting concerning the sale of the Timothy Eaton school building and property.

For those who were unable to attend, the meeting featured a powerpoint presentation followed by a question and answer period with residents. Joining Trustee Wong on the panel were Shirley Hoy of the Toronto Lands Corporation, and Andrew Gowdy, the TDSB Planning Manager. After introducing the purpose of the meeting and giving the background rationale for closing the school, the bulk of the meeting focused on what happens next, the role of the Toronto Lands Corporation, how they accept proposals from potential bidders, and where students and daycare attendees who have used Timothy Eaton will be redirected to.

HIGHLIGHTS

- At the last public meeting, the community was in favour of leasing Timothy Eaton. The TDSB in their June 30th meeting, however, voted overwhelmingly to sell, and authorized the Toronto Lands Corporation (TLC) to circulate the property to a preferred list of public institutions.

- The child care centre will be relocated to Highland Heights Junior Public School

- Given the large scale residential developments planned for the area (e.g. Bridlewood Mall), some concerns were raised as to whether there was enough school space to serve an influx of residents. TDSB staff explained that the existing secondary schools in the area (Stephen Leacock, L'Amoreaux, Sr John A Macdonald) have the capacity to absorb new students, and are large enough to accomodate additions if enrollment increases substantially.

- The TLC will now proceed to offer the property to the following institutions for a period of 90 days, in order of priority:
French-language public district school board
English-language separate district school board
French-language separate district school board
English/French language college
The university whose head office is nearest to the property
The Province of Ontario
The City of Toronto
The Federal Government of Canada


- In an effort to keep the site in public hands and not sell to private ownership, Trustee Wong informed us that the TDSB approved a motion to bring the property back to the Board if no sale occurs with one of the preferred public institutions.

- If the City is able to secure at least part of the space - several community constituents including residents, non profit agencies and myself are in support of the develop of a 'hub' for needed services that will able to serve the Timothy Eaton area. There are at least two groups who have expressed interest in this idea - a United Way-led consortium of agencies, and a Family-justice group of agencies. Giving the pecking order of institutions, however, for the City of Toronto to be able to make use of the site, any proposal needs to be compatible with bids received from the institutions holding a higher priority status.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

If the City is able to secure at least part of the site, I would be delighted to discuss how we should best use the space at organizing@bryanheal.com or 416-760-2938.

For information regarding the decision to close and sell Timothy Eaton, the surplus process, what the raised capital will be used for, where students will be redirected to, enrollment projections and other TDSB issues please contact our local Trustee Soo Wong.
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