Comment 83178

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted November 24, 2012 at 23:05:24

"It remains in the best interest of the Board, students and community ratepayers to achieve the maximum return for surplus properties, while recognizing the need to maintain community involvement throughout the disposition process."

The above is from the Property Disposition Protocol Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.

This protocol lays down the following "Guiding Principles":

The Property Disposition Protocol has been developed with an aim to ensure:

  1. that Trustee fiduciary responsibility and effective public sector governance is clearly demonstrated when disposing of Board entrusted property assets;
  2. full compliance with all Legislative and Regulatory requirements; and,
  3. direction and decisions are clearly articulated in a timely fashion with the City of Hamilton and the Community at large; and,
  4. open and timely communication

and, "In order to provide a pre-consultation opportunity with the City of Hamilton and --local communities-- the disposition protocol has been assembled in three phases":

  1. Pre-Consultation Process - (Pre Ont. Reg. 444)
  2. Engagement of Ont. Reg. 444
  3. Disposition - (Post Ont. Reg. 444)

Further also see: Terms of Reference for the School Board Properties Sub-Committee, PED12135 from August 13, 2012

A similar protocol exists for the 'Disposition of any Surplus Lands' by all Colleges & Universities in Ontario - which was also clearly violated in the sale of the adjoining Mohawk campus to Mission Services.

The abject failure of the Eisenberger administration to foresee the immense benefits in promptly creating a neighbourhood plan for these lands -- back when Mohawk first declared its old campus adjoining the Sanford School surplus, has directly led to a massive loss of economic opportunity in Ward 3 and paved the way for the demolition of the Sanford School.

These lands could have become the symbol of Ward 3 rejuvenation with proper planning - instead they were allowed to go to seed for many years, and then scavenged by parochial interests for self-serving needs.

From becoming a prime example of best practice in redeveloping neighbourhoods and creating new assessment revenues, the political and pseudo-religious forces that converged around these vacant properties are ensuring that Ward 3 continues to remain a polarized and struggling community.

The failure of the City planning department in recognizing the strategic importance of this large parcel of land (between Wentworth & Sanford) for the economic well-being of Ward 3, has led to their faulty thinking about this neighborhood - and which is now facilitating the destruction of a perfectly healthy and historically significant building.

The mindless loss of the adjoining old campus of Mohawk College to Mission Service's highly dubious public use was equally damaging, as is the decision to tear down Sanford school.

The incontrovertible fact is that the Ward Councillor and Planning Staff will be hard pressed to prove that any transparent 'public consultation' (as mandated by the protocol for dispossession of surplus property), was ever undertaken to arrive at their preferred choice for tearing down this building.

This visible lack of public consultation and due process** for the disposition of surplus lands / demolition of the Sanford School building is in direct violation of Education Act, Ontario regulation 444/98.

Pointing out this grave lapse of process to the Minister of Education (or informing the office of the Ontario Ombudsman in case there is no response from the Minister) may be the only way to stop this madness!

The shameful charade involving a handful of motivated participants from the so called Wever Hub who acted one evening last November, as surrogates for the actual invested residents living in the neighbourhood (who were never invited to this critical meeting), to rush thru an acceptance for tearing down the Sanford School -- does in no way constitute a formal public consultation process. Those involved in this charade last November should hang their heads in shame for empowering those who are interested in tearing this building down, and for misrepresenting the entire local community's needs and aspirations.

Mahesh P. Butani

** Note From Above Protocol:

Public Notice:

The aims of a joint City of Hamilton and Board pre-consultation process are to:

  • meet a public and stakeholder expectations of helping to shape future development on lands of interest to them;
  • keep the community better informed about what might be undertaken on surplus Board lands;
  • uncover issues of concern and act as an ‘early warning system’ for the Board; and,
  • minimize disruption to and time spent on the formal rezoning/ applications

To this end, Administration will conduct the following public process:

  • In addition to posting a “Notice of Intent” to sell school lands’ on the Board’s web site, Administration will provide advanced public notice to known interested parties and residents in the vicinity of the site to indicate that the site is surplus, and that an appropriate after use is being sought. This advance notice will be issued 90 days prior to the Board’s motion to declare the property surplus and commencing Ont. Reg. 444 (the formal 90-day preferred agency process).

  • The public will also be invited to a meeting to seek input on the appropriate after-use of the site and the potential for re-use of any existing buildings. Administration will explain the reason for the disposition, the legal requirements under Ont. Reg. 444 including the respective roles of key players in the process including the City of Hamilton as a preferred agency, Administrations desired intended planning use of the property and the Board’s legal requirements relating to proceeds from disposition.

  • It is to be emphasized to the general public and the City of Hamilton that all disposition of Board property must be at ‘fair market value.’ This is both a regulatory requirement and a strategic imperative. Property is a tremendous Board asset — revenues from the sale of such enter the Capital Reserve accounts and are relied upon to support capital priorities and site acquisitions.

Phase 3 - Post Ont. Reg. 444 Circulation - Administrative Process: If the Board does not receive an Offer to Purchase from a body to which a proposal was issued before the expiration of the 90day period, Administration will proceed to carry out the necessary actions required in order to implement surplus lands disposition recommendations as directed by Board. When disposing of surplus property - Administration may:

  • Undertake a public tendering bid process
  • Receive offers to purchase
  • Publicly advertise and negotiate a sale
  • Engage a professional Real Estate firm to sell on behalf of the Board
  • Transact with an individual purchaser (single source purchaser) when dealing with a unique set of land or development circumstances involving relatively minimal land sizes

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2012-11-25 00:42:48

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