The City’s plan to purchase the closed Prince Philip public school in West Hamilton’s Ainslie Wood neighbourhood is on hold – likely to not happen – as another agency with higher priority is looking to purchase the site.
Under Ontario Regulation 444/98, the City (“local municipality”) in legalise – is number 9 in the order of government bodies which must be offered the land prior to any private sector sale.
The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board says it is in negotiations with another public body which submitted a offer to purchase the site.
Under the Regulation, the three other school boards (in order: French Public, English Catholic, French Catholic), Mohawk College, College Boreal, McMaster University, and the Provincial government, all have higher priority to purchase the site.
Who is The Buyer?
The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, Mohawk College, and McMaster University all state they are not interested in buying the property.
The French public school board, Conseil scolaire Viamonde and the French Catholic school board, Conseil scolaire de district Catholique Centre-Sud, are the likely buyers.
Both are seeking provincial funding for new and replacement schools, both have growing enrolment, and both have purchased surplus English public and English Catholic school board lands.
The Prince Philip site is zoned “I1 – Neighbourhood Institutional – Special Provision I7”, meaning it cannot be used for a Secondary School, College, or University.
It must remain an elementary school or have the zoning changed by way of a full public process and City Council vote.
Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie learned of the news from reading this website. No one at the HWDSB contacted him in advance of the letter to inform him of the higher preferred bidder.
CHCH and I asked McHattie about the news, and McHattie promised to fight the HWDSB to purchase the site.
However, the HWDSB’s hands are tied by Ontario Regulation 444/98.
For the Board to sell to the City will require the Provincial government to repeal 444/98 and replace with a new regulation or to create a separate regulation for the HWDSB.
Timeline – What’s Next
The preferred agency purchaser now has 30 days to make a fair market value offer to the HWDSB.
If they do, they will own the property.
If they do not, then the City of Hamilton will have 30 days to make its fair market value offer.
With the October 27 election, it is possible we won’t know the outcome until December as both the City and Board staff may decide the matter is too political to provide any update in the days leading up to voting day.