NEWS October 10th, 2014

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Save Bannockburn movement gearing up for OMB fight

Lawyers in place, $6,000 raised in nine days

Shawn Star/Town Crier FIGHT FOR LAND: Organizer Patricia McMahon of Save Bannockburn states her case for saving the greenspace at Bannockburn School during a heated community meeting in May. The activist group appears before the OMB in November.

In a week and a half, the community group Save Bannockburn has raised half the money it needs to hire a city planner to help in its fight to preserve the greenspace at Bannockburn School before the Ontario Municipal Board at hearings set for Nov. 13-14.

Organizer Patricia McMahon called on the community Sept. 30 to contribute funds, saying they needed between $12,000 and $15,000 to add a city planner to their roster, which already includes a team of two lawyers. As of Thursday night, the community had raised $6,000.

The TDSB, which owns the land at Bannockburn School, has proposed severing the land to sell off the greenspace as a means of raising money for capital projects needed at other schools. It leases the building, located west of Avenue Road, to Montessori Schools. The greenspace attached to the school is used by local community groups.

The city’s committee of adjustment refused the severance in May, saying the school board did not follow its own policies in the proposal.

The TDSB said in June it would be fighting that decision at the OMB, but would reconsider if the city made an offer for the land.

McMahon wrote the TDSB asking for an adjournment until after the municipal elections because, she says, there will be a new trustee and city councillor in the area, possibly giving time for the city to make an offer. The TDSB declined.