Appeal to OMB on city’s Bannockburn decision

The Toronto District School Board has filed an appeal with the Ontario Municipal Board after the city said it would not sever the land at Bannockburn School and sell off the greenspace.

The filing, on June 10, comes after a heated community meeting in May where a standing-room only crowd, including councillor Karen Stintz and MPP Mike Colle, blasted trustee Howard Goodman over the board’s decision to sever the land without consulting the community first.

But while the TDSB is moving ahead with plans to sever the property it remains “absolutely open” to working with the city to find a solution, director Donna Quan said after a June 9 meeting with concerned community members at the 12 Bannockburn Ave. school.

It doesn’t mean the door is closed to other offers to keep it a greenspace, she said.

“We will work with the city, we want to work with the city in terms of preserving that greenspace,” she said. “(Losing greenspace) is certainly not something the school board wants to do — I can say that clearly.”

The North Toronto school, now leased to Montessori, is on the TDSB’s list of surplus properties.

The TDSB is required by the province to sell off surplus land in order to receive money for capital projects.

It identified several properties as surplus land and has been in the process of selling them for the past six years.

The decision to sever the Bannockburn property was rejected by the city’s committee of adjustment after it deemed the board had not followed its own policies in informing the community about the decision.

Trish McMahon, the leading force in the community in trying to prevent the severance of the Bannockburn property, said she was disappointed with the board’s plan to take it to the OMB but is pleased the TDSB appears open to working with the city.

“If we can all agree that nobody wants to sell greenspace and the city has said they want to buy greenspace — especially in greenspace-deficient areas — then surely we can find a way,” she said.