TCDSB could expropriate homes for new high school

TORONTO – The Toronto Catholic District School Board is considering two options for the future home of St. Joseph’s Morrow Park Secondary School that could see 30 townhomes destroyed.

Board officials unveiled the two concepts for the new school at a public meeting held June 19.

“Concept A” shows St. Joseph’s huddled between 30 townhomes bordering Bayview Ave., at Cummer Ave.

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In “Concept B” those 30 townhomes are removed to make way for a larger sports field, increasing the size of the field from a 55-by-91-metre field hockey space to a 72-metre-by-120-metre soccer field.

In order for the school board to go through with “Concept B” the city would have to buy the property from willing sellers or expropriate the land from unwilling sellers, which they are legally entitled to do under the Ontario Municipal Board’s Expropriation Act.

According to the Expropriation Act, a municipality or public agency is allowed to take property for a purpose deemed to be in the public interest, even if the owner of the property is not willing to sell it.

Area councilor David Shiner said he was surprised that board officials were considering expropriation, saying that Cummer and Bayview site would better suite a school of 400-500 students, than the planned 800-1000 student school.

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“If you buy a school site, as the school board did, they know what can fit on the site. And here it seems a school of around 500 students would fit which would bring the enrollment over from the current St. Josephs’s school to this location,” said Shiner.

“The plans they showed me were for a two story school or three school plan for 800 students. It just seemed to be squishing something to big on this site. I would love to have a school here but it has to be the right size for the community.”

Shiner said that if the board does decide to expropriate the 30 townhomes the process could be lengthy and the costs of buying the “townhouses could be double the cost of the school.”

The school in question is St. Joseph’s Morrow Park Catholic Secondary School an all-girls school founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1960 and is attached to the Sisters’ motherhouse at Morrow Park.

The school is located at 3379 Bayview Ave., close to the new site, and was purchased by the Toronto Catholic School Board at the end of March.

The board has planned a public meeting for 7:30pm on July 9at the old public school, 500 Cummer Ave., and is interested in hearing from townhome owners who want to sell their property at market value.


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