He’s stopping short of calling it a reconsideration. Or a partnership. But Bob Morrow wants the city to work with the school board again on the new high school at Scott Park.
The ward 3 councillor will introduce a vaguely worded motion to city council on Wednesday asking for “discussions” about “the future of the current Scott Park lands.”
Bob Morrow's motion:
"That the city manager in conjunction with the mayor, as he wishes, and the ward 3 councillor be asked to supervise discussions among the following, and not limited to, organizations responsible for the future of the current Scott Park lands - including the Bernie Morelli Seniors Centre, the school site, Jimmy Thompson Pool, parking requirements for current and future needs, playing fields and open spaces and that a timely report be made back to Hamilton city council through its appropriate committees."
In other words, he wants the city and the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board to work together on the section of properties in the Pan Am precinct that includes a high school, a seniors centre and the Jimmy Thompson Pool. That might end up including sharing a building, or it might not.
“There’s a reluctance to use the word partnership,” Morrow said. “That had difficult ramifications previously. There’s less of a chance of shared use than previously, but let’s see what’s possible and what the means are.”
Sharing a facility was a tense subject last year. The school board wanted to partner with the city on a joint high school and recreation centre on the former Scott Park high school property. But council narrowly voted that down, several citing a distrust in partnerships with the school board. Instead, the city will use the $17 million to build a seniors centre itself.
The board moved to its plan B — building the new high school on the Parkview high school and former King George elementary land (although the city has since moved to designate King George as a significant heritage property), and the parking lot at nearby Scott Park. Because of space restrictions, the high school will not have a full-size football field.
Morrow isn’t looking for the exact same arrangement as before. He won’t guess what form the collaboration might take, whether it might mean shared parking, a shared sports field, or a shared facility. But the board and the city have kept in touch, he said.
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- RELATED: New Scott Park high school: How we got to this point
His motion calls for the city manager, Morrow, the mayor and the board to meet with the school board to look at how the Bernie Morelli Seniors Centre, the high school and the Jimmy Thompson Pool all fit together.
Morrow can’t predict how the discussion will evolve. If the debate too closely resembles the one last year, it would require two-thirds of council to agree to revive the issue.
“There’s a reluctance to get into partnerships because there were difficult results previously,” he said. “I’ll just leave it at that.”
Coun. Brad Clark of Stoney Creek told CBC Hamilton recently that he has reservations, but “I’ll wait to hear the debate from Coun. Morrow himself."
Coun. Brian McHattie of Ward 1 sees the move as “looking at who owns what land and putting a map together to see what different uses are planned."
“At this point, I’m supportive of Coun. Morrow’s efforts to investigate who’s doing what, and who owns what.”
Here’s what else will be discussed at Wednesday’s council meeting:
- The decision to move ahead and look into potential sponsorships for a $230,000 gateway sign for Hamilton.
- A Monday decision to spend more than $1 million on rent subsidy for those in danger of being homeless, as well as another roughly $900,000 in annual homelessness initiatives.
CBC Hamilton reporter Samantha Craggs will tweet live from the meeting. Follow her at @SamCraggsCBC or in the box below.