Windsor

J.L. Forster sale part of legal settlement with school board

Greater Essex County District School Board spent three days drafting response about unusual sale of former J.L. Forster High School.
Forster students will start attending Century high school in 2014-2015.

After spending days drafting a response with its legal team, public school board officials commented about the controversial land swap that saw a former west-end high school being sold to the owners of the Ambassador Bridge.

The old J.L. Forster high school was first sold to Progressive Waste Solutions Dec. 22  for $1.2 million because of a legal dispute the company raised with the Greater Essex County District School Board, a spokesman from the district explained Thursday.

That same day the district sold the land, Progressive flipped the property to the Canadian Transit Company, which is a subsidiary of the Detroit International Bridge Company.

School board trustees would not comment about the dispute, deferring all questions to spokesman Scott Scantlebury.

"On the advice of our counsel, we have been asked to keep that matter confidential," he told CBC News regarding the dispute. "The sale was the result of negotiations with Progressive Waste, which owned adjoining property and the matter was resolved with the sale."

The district never put the property on the market because of the legal dispute. One developer inquired about buying it, but the district could not pursue any other offers, Scantlebury explained.

"This legal dispute that existed between Progressive Waste and the district inhibited the board from selling the property free and clear of problems," he said.

Progressive also sold a neighbouring parcel of land it owned on Felix Avenue to the bridge company for another $1.2 million.

The sale of old J.L. Forster High School to the owners of the Ambassador Bridge hampers any chance at revitalization of Windsor's west end, says developer Joseph Mikhail. (CBC News)

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