Special Report: Education

Community Engagement Missing from Sanford Decision

It is blatantly obvious that the decision to demolish Sanford School was already a done deal and the people of ward 3 had not been informed and certainly not part of process.

By Glenna Jones
Published January 24, 2013

Community Engagement Missing from Sanford Decision

In December of 2012, I attended a meeting at the Cathy Wever School concerning the demolition of Sanford School to make way for a soccer field and the possible renovation and expansion of The Pinky Lewis Recreation Centre.

At that meeting, a councilor stood up and announced, "The people must be part of the process." Yet it is blatantly obvious that it was already a done deal and the people of ward 3 had not been informed and certainly not part of process.

You cannot call twenty people involved in the Wever Hub as reaching out to the community. The Wever Hub has made it clear that they are not a Community Hub and their only interest is in programs that concern the students and the recreation centre.

So to claim that community engagement was part of the process is an outrage.

We the people who have made major investments in this community are no longer going to sit back while backroom and closed-door mismanaged disastrous decisions are pushed through council that profoundly impact our neighbourhoods.

When you tear down historic buildings and replace them with poorly-designed boxes - or, as in most cases, no replacement but just another parking lot - can you not see that you are systematically destroying your city?

What happened to vision, restoration and innovation in the case of the destruction of Sanford School?

What happened to the Planning Report that went back to City Council on Sept 12?

Why did it take four months for the planning report to be put back on the agenda of the Planning Committee?

Glenna Jones is a retired dancer, choreographer and actress. She has lived and worked in numerous countries, starting in 1953 with CBC TV Toronto and including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Sydney Australia. She came home to CBC in the 1960s and spent many years as a resident choreographer and performer for the Wayne and Shuster Shows, as well as many Norman Campbell specials as a dancer and numerous guest appearances as an actress. She moved to Hamilton nine years ago and lives in a super old Victorian house with attached studio near Sanford School. Her husband is visual artist Robert Carley.


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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted January 24, 2013 at 08:16:54

I totaly hear you on this subject there draging there butts at City Hall and we as Hamiltonians should remember that on election day , the question is though will there be someone that is willing to go for office as Mayor of this city and kick some butts at Queens Park

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By Use a spell checker (anonymous) | Posted January 26, 2013 at 05:58:08 in reply to Comment 85470

Seriously. Reading your posts is like visual diarrhea. We'll work on the grammar after that.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 26, 2013 at 10:29:01 in reply to Comment 85574

I think it's pretty clear at this point that Conrad's comment stylings are a put-on to mask his/her identity - like using your left hand to disguise your handwriting. Getting a little tired of the schtick myself.

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By CyNic (anonymous) | Posted January 24, 2013 at 09:51:49

Perhaps this rush has something to do with replacing Brian Timmis(sp?) before anyone realizes that the net result of the our Pan am legacy is one less amateur playing field?

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By SCRAP (anonymous) | Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:54:07

The taxpayers paid for this school, back in the day, so does it not belong to the people? I think in recent days, people are starting to see that, we the people, are not seen as important, thus we are left out of the decision making process.

Maybe people are in a fog, with the term democracy, as they think, we go thru an elction process and those people are suppose to represent us, in a fair way. But I heard something last night, that brought a clearer picture in my mind.

Whether it is a town, city, province or even a country, they all operate as a corporation, thus the elected officals are CEO types, one could say.

Sure there needs to be change, however that change must come from the people and they have to engaged, the majority of people are not. So how do we get them interested in issues that affect them?

As we keep pulling back the curtain and get peeks inside, we are all upset about the happenings that go on behind the scenes. Maybe on solution is that whomever is running, whatever party, person, entity, that corporate dollars must be taken out of the equation.

Those are my thoughts. For this school, maybe we have to be like Rachael Corrie, a brave soul who stood in definace of the system in an effort to save people's homes.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted January 24, 2013 at 14:46:30

It's my understanding that this property was promised to the neighbourhood years ago. The people then wanted it to be park land and that's what it's going to be returned to. I don't think we can expect the School Board or even the city to keep up buildings they can't afford. It takes developers and investors to keep buildings like this and until there is someone with enough money to buy it and maintain it we are all kidding ourselves thinking that the school board and the cities coffers are overflowing with enough cash to keep these beautiful historic buildings afloat. One thing we can learn from all of this, I think, is that we need to move faster on these historic buildings that we want to keep around. Identify them, and get them protected on the Heritage building list. Going forward we need to be proactive instead of reactive.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted January 29, 2013 at 19:51:09 in reply to Comment 85482

Please provide information on your "understanding". Minutes from a meeting, signed documentation, names of the "people", anything...

Backroom dealings have led us to where we are today, period.

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By GoGo (anonymous) | Posted January 24, 2013 at 16:45:00 in reply to Comment 85482

Where have you been? Someone does want to buy it! OMG!

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By Duke of Earl (anonymous) | Posted January 25, 2013 at 08:50:30

With the morning sun on those east faceing large windows,and the sunsets on the west side an artist could be inspired to greatness.Why not convert the top floor to living working units for artists.Perhaps a caffetaria on the lower level open to the public.The main floor used for counseling and mentoring inner city youth.The large outdoor area would be public green space,perhaps an area where tables would seat cafeteria patrons .Perhaps donations to various artists could be made to an artists tab in the cafetaria as a thank you for the pleasure of enjoying original works on display.There are so many options other than the wrecking ball.

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By Anon (anonymous) | Posted January 25, 2013 at 09:26:13

City is not paying for demo. That comes from the Ministry of education. It is there property
It's a handshake deal to save the city some cash.

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By -Hammer- (registered) | Posted January 25, 2013 at 14:57:24

Now here is a crazy idea, lets make sure that a similar building doesn't get demo'd because of this process. I'm looking at Delta secondary here.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted January 29, 2013 at 20:16:28 in reply to Comment 85531

Delta is in Ward 4, not Ward 3. That means it's safe.

A comment like that shows you have little, really I mean no understanding of the dynamics in Ward 3 and it's "Councillor" (there's a definite reason for quotes and I also use them in air when referring to him).

Clr Morelli just doesn't care to improve the Ward. McHattie, Ferguson, Merulla and I'm sure other councillors fight for old schools. Morelli just doesn't care, or worse.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted January 27, 2013 at 22:31:39 in reply to Comment 85531

What's to save at Delta? Another prime piece of real estate for a big 20+ storey condo complex (2 towers with a nice courtyard linking them. The 3-storey complex, when not used as an institution of learning, is more wasted space.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted February 26, 2013 at 07:51:10

The permits have been issued and the barriers are up. In short, the debate is done.

Sanford Avenue School is coming down.

Despite pleas from heritage proponents to leave the building standing, demolition of the 80-year-old school is expected to begin before the end of the month.

“We hope the kids will be playing in their new playground in late spring or early summer, weather permitting,” said Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board chair Tim Simmons.


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