Earlier today, I took part in an announcement with the Province of Ontario and the Toronto District School Board regarding the Bloor-Dufferin TDSB Lands. The TDSB announced that they have selected Capital Developments as the purchaser of the 7.3 acre school site. The Province announced that they will be contributing capital funding to assist with the creation of a community hub on the site and a new high school at the current site of Brockton High School.
I would like to thank everyone involved from the City, Province, TDSB and TLC for their efforts as part of an inter-governmental working group which has helped to guide the establishment of a community hub to this point in time. I would also like to thank all residents who have engaged with me and advocated for important community building priorities regarding this 7.3 acre site since it was first declared surplus by the TDSB in 2013.
The Province and City have now retained an independent facilitator, SN Management to help engage with the community in order to develop a vision for the community hub. The first step in this process is issuing a Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) to not-for-profit or registered charitable community-based organizations that are located in or deliver services and/or programming to the Bloor-Dufferin community.
The REOI will help establish a Visioning Group that will be tasked to meet the following objectives:
- Ensure that community groups are meaningfully engaged in the planning for a potential Bloor-Dufferin community hub; and
- Develop a vision and governance and service framework for a potential community hub at the Bloor-Dufferin Redevelopment site.
I believe that resident engagement is an important part in this process and will be advocating to ensure that resident input continues to build on the input received through the June 20, 2016 community meeting and through other avenues. I will be updating you on these opportunities as they become available for both the community hub process and the development process. The developer will also be required to consult with the local community about the future of the entire site.
I look forward to working with the selected developer, local residents and our partners to ensure that this development fits within the character of the neighbourhood and contains the green space, community hub, child care, affordable housing and heritage preservation that our community expects. Our community deserves no less.
I have included below a timeline of this site and some of the steps that have brought us to today. I look forward to engaging with you on this project in the coming months.
Ward 18, Davenport
Bloor-Dufferin TDSB Lands Timeline
December 2013 – Bloor-Dufferin TDSB Lands Declared Surplus
The TDSB declared surplus the Bloor-Dufferin TDSB Lands on December 19, 2013 and the closing date for Expressions of Interest from public agencies was April 18, 2014.
March 2014 – City of Toronto Expresses Formal Interest
Upon receiving the circulation notice for the sale, I worked to coordinate City Divisions to determine available resources towards purchasing the site. These efforts resulted in a letter from the City's Real Estate Services Division on March 4, 2014, where formal interest was expressed on behalf of our Parks, Forestry & Recreation and Economic Development & Culture Divisions. However, it was communicated that the TDSB and TLC were unwilling to entertain any bid for less than the entire 7.3 acre site.
While the City of Toronto was not in a position to submit an offer the entire property, I initiated discussions with the TDSB and TLC highlighting the importance of ensuring public benefit from the property in case the site ended up being offered for sale on the open market.
April 2014 – Catholic School Board City of Toronto Joint Proposal
In an effort to have the site remain in public hands, I worked with the Toronto Catholic District School Board and City staff to put together a joint proposal for the site. As part of this, the City's Parks, Forestry & Recreation Division confirmed its interest in working with the TCDSB as a partner to create a vibrant "community hub" of services at this location.
February 2015 – Letter to Minister of Education Sandals Regarding Consideration of Catholic School Board-City of Toronto Joint Proposal
The decision on whether to accept the bid rested with the Ministry of Education and I wrote to former Minister of Education Sandals seeking a meeting and a decision on the matter.
March 2015 – Premier Wynne Appoints Karen Pitre as Special Advisor on Community Hubs to Lead the Premier's Community Hubs Framework Advisory Group
Following Karen Pitre's appointment, nine individuals were appointed to the Advisory Group, from a cross section of community, municipal government, health care and education sectors. The Advisory Group released Community Hubs in Ontario: A Strategic Framework and Action Plan on August 10, 2015 to help guide the creation of community hubs.
April 2015 – Trustee Stiles Moves to Defer Sale and Establish Interest for a Community Hub
The TDSB deferred the sale of the site until the TLC could complete a review in pursuing community hub opportunities and to report back on a feasibility plan and next steps for a community hub.
June 2015 – Councillor Bailão Members Motion to Develop a Community Hub Proposal
Toronto City Council unanimously passed my motion to mobilize numerous City Divisions in order to develop a community hub proposal for the property.
October 2015 – City Council Unanimously Approves the Concept of a Community Hub
City staff report back to Council and propose a concept for a landmark community hub for food and learning. Council authorizes City staff to enter into formal discussions on behalf of the City, with the TLC, TDSB, and the Province of Ontario.
November 2015 – Inter-Governmental Working Group Formed
Following extensive discussions between the City, Province, TLC and TDSB, an inter-governmental working group, led by Premier Kathleen Wynne's Advisor on Community Hubs, Karen Pitre was formed. The Working Group was created to investigate opportunities to improve collaboration related to the sale of the site, which was considered by all parties involved to be an important and strategic public asset.
June 2016 – Bloor-Dufferin TDSB Lands Community Meeting Held
A community meeting organized by the Working Group and co-hosted by the City, TDSB, TLC and the Province was held on June 20, 2016 to update the community on the working group's progress and to seek feedback to shape the future of this important site.
September 2016 – TLC Issues a Request for Proposals to sell the Bloor-Dufferin TDSB Lands
The TLC formally issues a request for proposals for interested parties to purchase the Bloor-Dufferin TDSB Lands. Through the efforts of the inter-governmental working group, up to 30,000 sq. ft. is required to be set aside by the successful bidder for the purposes of a community hub.
Throughout the sale process, I have fought for the priorities as set out by our community including:
- The preservation of as much green space as possible;
- The preservation and expansion of child care spaces;
- The need for affordable housing to be included as part of any development on the site;
- That any proposed development fits with the character of the neighbourhood;
- The preservation of the heritage aspects of the site; and
- The need for community services, uses, and a community hub to be created on the site itself.
A coalition of residents and community stakeholders also came together during this time with a petition calling for a community voice in the Bloor-Dufferin property sale and I was pleased to support their efforts.
October 2016 – MPP Martins, Councillor Bailão and Trustee Stiles Letter to Minister of Education Hunter Requesting Support and Funding for a Community Hub
In the spirit of collaboration, MPP Martins, Councillor Bailão and Trustee Stiles write a letter to Minster of Education Hunter highlighting the strategic importance of the Bloor-Dufferin TDSB Lands. The letter formally requests Provincial support and funding for a community hub.
December 8, 2016 – TDSB Selects a Developer for the Site and the Province Announces Capital Funding for a Community Hub and a New High School
At a press conference on the Bloor-Dufferin TDSB Lands, the TDSB announced that they have selected Capital Developments as the purchaser of the 7.3 acre school site. The Province announced that they will be contributing capital funding to assist with the creation of a community hub on the site and a new high school at the current site of Brockton High School.