Public school board to purchase the city owned sports field next to Central High School - that is part of a bigger story

By Staff

May 18th, 2022



The Halton District School Board put out the following media release.

The Halton District School Board is advancing a land transaction with the City of Burlington that would see the exchange of the City-owned sports field at Burlington Central High School (1433 Baldwin St, Burlington), with the sale of the former Robert Bateman High School (5151 New St, Burlington).

The school will own the sports field once the negotiations are complete

The parcel of land adjacent to Burlington Central High School is approximately five acres and includes the sports field and track to the west of the school. The Board’s purchase of this land ensures the continued operation of Burlington Central High School by the HDSB for the foreseeable future.

In June 2021, HDSB trustees approved a plan to declare the former Robert Bateman High School facility surplus to its needs and retain an interest in a portion of the facility to relocate the Burlington Gary Allan Learning Centre. In September 2021, the City of Burlington expressed interest and submitted their formal offer on Feb. 3, 2022, which was accepted by the Board.

This opportunity to acquire the area at Burlington Central H.S. presented itself to the Board and the City as part of the negotiation process, where the land exchange was incorporated as part of the final offer. This was supported by the Board, as it advances its long-term facility accommodation strategy in Burlington. The Board sought Ministry of Education approval and received a positive response to proceed with the transaction.

The outcome of this transaction addresses key objectives for the HDSB and the City by ensuring  important educational and community programs continue to be offered within Burlington.

The Board looks forward to continuing to work with the City of Burlington on this matter.

The acquisition of the sports field is related to the Robert Bateman High School land transaction.

The bigger story is that the city had to find a way to lessen the public pressure on a price tag that was being floated and resulting in a lot of indigestion.  Whatever the city gets for the sports field will lower the cost of the Bateman site.

The city is gearing up another engagement effort to get some grease on a very squeaky wheel.


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7 comments to Public school board to purchase the city owned sports field next to Central High School – that is part of a bigger story

  • Penny Hersh

    What you see as complaining I see as asking for accountability.

    Residents vote in their councillor members and expect that they will follow through with some of their campaign promises. To have different opinions on subjects is healthy and as you indicate important. Silencing them through closed sessions is not, and as Councillor Galbraith indicated Council has the ability to tell city staff when they don’t want to discuss something in closed session.

    One of your question says it all. NO the residents don’t “know what the impact the swapping of the land will have on the net cost of the deal to the city”? Why because we have been kept in the dark.

    Public engagement is not sending out an irrelevant survey, especially since the decision has been made to move forward with this project, and only awaits council approval. You can get this information through “tweets”if you follow some of the councillors on twitter.

    Why even have a council if city staff has the last word, so to speak? Seems like the tail wagging the dog.

    Bruce we will have to once again agree to disagree. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    • Bruce Leigh

      Ms Hersh, either I am not good at explaining my position or you are not good at reading what I write. Maybe a bit of both?

      But actually we have some common ground.

      I think we both agree city staff is there to carry out instructions and to provide advice/recommendations. And we agree City staff is not there to set policy or make decisions. Those two items fall to council.

      As to the cost of the property deal, I clearly said residents are in the dark, which is not right. My point was that without knowing the net cost to the City, neither you nor I can make a valued assessment of the deal. You though have been against the deal from day one, offering your opinion from a position of not having the details in your knowledge.

      You say a decision has been made to move forward with the deal. Has it? When did Council approve the deal?

  • Penny Hersh


    You seem to think that all residents of Burlington are pleased with the decisions that this council has made. You are correct the council does not have to seek resident approval on all issues. However, the scope of this “issue” does require, in my opinion, total transparency which has not taken place.

    By the time residents get all the information probably after the election it will be a done deal.

    The next municipal election is not that far away and unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much interest in residents wanting to run for office. This does not necessarily mean that residents are happy with the current council, perhaps it means that they don’t want to work with many of the existing council members that may be re-elected.

    This council is “broken”, even you have to be able to see this.

    Have you considered running for council?

    • Bruce Leigh

      Me, run for Council. I would be a bad choice. I cannot work within the strict constraints mandated. I’m also way too black and white. Not much room for gray.

      I was going to ask you the same question as you are constantly complaining about the job this council is doing. So why are you not running?

      Note, unlike you I am not complaining about how this council has turned out. I am happy with its performance. Particularly with the hand it was dealt regarding development. I don’t see it as broken.

      If all councilors agreed with each other on all topics I really would be very concerned. Concerned that there would be no discussion, no debate, no checks and no balances.

      Your suggestion that people may not be willing to run for fear they might have to work with some of the incumbents is pure speculation and in my view somewhat rediculous.

      As to this property deal specifically, I agree with Councilor Kearns that staff has done a very poor job in framing the questionnaire. No information on the financial aspects is included. Note that is down to staff, not Council.

  • Penny Hersh

    How many people do you know would have someone negotiate the purchase of a property that they had never seen, didn’t have an idea how the purchase price was reached, and were told that it would be their responsibility to pay for it and all the renovations required?

    Oh yes, and they were going to swap a piece of one of your other properties to try to make the deal more palatable.

    • Bruce Leigh

      Ms Hersh

      You miss the points made.

      (1) You slammed a deal about which you knew absolutely none of the details. Sure slam it when you have that knowledge. But wait for that time.

      (2) We elect our councilors to make valued, informed decisions on our behalf; to govern. We do not elect them to seek our approval or direction on every issue. Sure seek feedback, input from residents as a part of the decision making process (which is now happening). If you don’t like the decisions made. vote them out at the next election.

      A question for you:- Do you know what impact the swapping of the land will have on the net cost of the deal to the City? I think you don’t.

  • Bruce Leigh

    May be all the nay sayers of the Bateman purchase should, as I suggested, wait until all the facts are available for consideration (that would be when negotiations are wrapped up between City/HDSB/Brock) rather than speak with indignation from a position of complete ignorance. Did the Gazette, Hersh or a number of other nay sayers see this coming? I didn’t ! But it seems like a great way to substantially mitigate the Bateman purchase cost.

    Editor’s note: Would Mr Leigh have the residents sit quietly, meekly.maybe sucking their thumbs, while the bureaucrats make decisions. The politicians and the bureaucrats love it when the electorate don’t ask embarrassing questions