Update on Sherwood Forest school site

As you know, the Sherwood Forest Public School is closing June 30, 2013. After that date, the school board, under Regulation 444/ 98 will offer the site to a defined list of public bodies including the city and other school boards. If none make an offer, it will be offered on the open market. Unlike most other school sites in the city, this one is expected to attract the interest of the development community.

A group of residents have been working on the following ideas:

FIND ANOTHER SCHOOL USE

The French Public board has a capacity problem in London. The local trustee, Denis Trudell, has been contacted. We are monitoring the Board`s minutes to see if the matter has come up. We are hoping they consider acquiring the Sherwood Forest site, but they may look at other city sites, if at all.

CITY BUYS THE SITE WITH A COMMITMENT OF REPAYMENT

We are waiting to hear back regarding the city`s ability to use a local improvement for property acquisition. We have been told by a representative in the city`s Engineering Department that it is not possible.

Councillor Branscombe got City Council to ask city staff for a formal report on using local improvements:

Use of Local Improvement Charges Regulation for the Purpose of Acquiring Surplus School Sites

Recommendation: That the Civic Administration BE REQUESTED to review and report back on the potential for municipalities to use the Local Improvement Charges Regulation as a means of acquiring surplus school sites through an additional charge on property tax bills, with such review to not only consider the existing Regulation, but also possible changes to facilitate these types of land acquisitions.

OPERATE A SENIORS CENTRE

This is no longer under consideration.  A number of seniors groups in the city are looking for space to continue programs they operate at the Mount. Unfortunately, none of them have money for capital costs of acquisition and a program affiliated with Western University has indicated the University is not interest in acquiring the property.

SET UP A NON-PROFIT TO OPERATE A SUSTAINABLE ENERGY CENTRE

The school site group is going to submit a proposal to the City`s community grant process asking the city to acquire the site from the School Board and then be repaid by a proposed non profit corporation which will issue a community bond for the purchase price. Concurrently, the new non profit would apply for funding from the Ontario Ministry of Energy to set up the school as a sustainable energy centre similar to the one operated at the Kortright Centre near Toronto. https://www.thelivingcitycampus.com/

The city`s deadline for submission is August 1 and the group plans to meet that deadline.

After submission, the proposal is then reviewed by city staff. If supported by city staff, there will be a need to make a presentation to a committee of Council in September. If supported, it will be recommended to City Council for decision during the budget debate. City Council has the final say.

For more information, please contact Sandy Levin.

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