Archives for: October 2008

10/28/08

Permalink 08:15:52 am, by mleslie Email , 56 words, 194 views   English (CA)
Categories: Individual school case studies

Lakefield College School opens $13.8 million LEED Gold certified facility

An environmentally friendly student recreation centre and outdoor education wing at Lakefield College School near Peterborough has officially opened. Designed by Diamond + Schmitt Architects and constructed by Percon Construction Inc., the new 37,000-square-foot Hadden Hall student recreation centre and the Desmarais Family Outdoor Education Wing provide athletic and outdoor education amenities for the school’s 365 students.

10/11/08

Permalink 02:20:41 pm, by mleslie Email , 80 words, 206 views   English (US)
Categories: News Updates

New Guide to Financing "EnergySmart" Schools

A new "Guide to Financing EnergySmart Schools" provides guidance on the process of financing energy-efficient school renovations, retrofits, or new construction. The Guide is published by the Building Technologies Program of the US Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. It's an American programme, but it just might provide Canadian innovators with some bright ideas. More information can be obtained by contacting the EnergySmart Schools initiative and Margo Appel at Margo.Appel@ee.doe.gov or calling 1-202-586-9495.

10/06/08

Permalink 08:11:29 am, by mleslie Email , 126 words, 192 views   English (CA)
Categories: Toronto updates

$44.3M windfall for TDSB: Property sales will inject some much-needed cash, but how will the trustees spend it?

By Moira MacDonald, The Toronto Sun (October 6, 2008)
It still needs its budget approved, and the numbers are still being revised, but at least one figure stood out on the ledger sheet at the first public meeting of the Toronto Lands Corporation (TLC) last week: $44.3 million. That's how much money the TLC has projected the Toronto District School Board will get back this school year in sales of 15 surplus board properties. The TLC was created in the last year to manage sales and leases of the TDSB's surplus properties. The number could still go up or down and there's still some administrative expenses to work in, but the TDSB will have some real money to work with. The $44-million question is, how will the TDSB spend it?

10/01/08

Permalink 08:21:32 am, by mleslie Email , 25 words, 206 views   English (CA)
Categories: Toronto updates

Toronto Lands Corporation (TLC) Shareholder Direction

The shareholder directions that the Toronto District School Board gave its wholly owned Toronto Lands Corportation last May can be downloaded by following this link.

Permalink 08:17:33 am, by mleslie Email , 657 words, 197 views   English (CA)
Categories: Toronto updates

Show us the money: Group in charge of dealing with Toronto's surplus schools finally opens its doors to the public tonight

By Moira MacDonald, The Toronto Sun, 29th September 2008

Anyone interested in getting a first glimpse into the work being done to sell off or get better rents on Toronto's surplus public school properties will want to get themselves up to the school board's offices tonight.

That's when the first public meeting of the Toronto Lands Corporation will be held, nearly a year after it was first approved by Toronto District School Board trustees, its sole owners.

The TLC is supposed to manage the board's surplus school lands and properties -- numbered at about 99 -- deciding which are the best ones to offer for sale and whether the board can squeeze out extra leasing dollars.

TLC chairman David Crombie also has a mind to see how properties might be transformed so they can still serve the public who built them while contributing to classroom programs.

UNADVERTISED

I've been supportive of what TLC is trying to do. But I've also been critical of how it's conducted its work so far. Despite Crombie's assurance he wants the TLC to be public and open, its meetings up until now have been unadvertised -- even to TDSB trustees who do not sit on the TLC board -- and private, with no public minutes.

A draft annual plan is also so far not publicly available.

"We get very little information," complains Scarborough-Agincourt TDSB trustee Soo Wong.

Why should you care? The TLC will have influence over a huge amount of public land and potentially tens of millions of public dollars (any recommendations on land sales have to get TDSB trustee approval, but leasing deals do not).

If you care about the park outside that closed school where you walk your dog, you might be interested in what the TLC may suggest be done with it.

And now with the TLC also in charge of managing the TDSB's 39 endangered school swimming pools and receiving about $4 million directly from the provincial government to keep them open, there's even more reason for the public to keep tabs on what's happening.

So it's great to see the TLC finally opening the doors. Tonight it will hold its first public meeting at TDSB headquarters at 5050 Yonge St. from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Dino Chiesa, the TLC's CEO, told me he expects all TLC meetings will be publicly held from now on, which should be quarterly. Last week the TDSB also put information up on its web site about who is on the TLC's board of directors, and who to contact for more information.

The TLC has nine board members, including Crombie. Others are Jane Pepino, a high-profile land development and planning lawyer, Jane Marshall, executive vice-president of Loblaw Properties Ltd., Hugh Heron, president of Heathwood Homes and Heron Homes, and education advocate Annie Kidder. Four trustees round out the board: Bruce Davis, Irene Atkinson, Michael Coteau and TDSB chairman John Campbell.

While it's great the TLC has the expertise of people with experience in real estate and development, that can also create a conflict of interest minefield when it comes to making recommendations about land and leasing deals -- another good reason to let the public in.

Karen Pitre, a consultant who has been holding the TLC together administratively, says one of the first things the TLC did was create a conflict of interest policy and board members use it to declare potential conflicts at every meeting.

BOARD GETS PAID

The TLC is also still waiting to get its first budget approved. That budget includes a recommendation for $15,000 a year for TLC chairman Crombie, as well as $250 a meeting, and up to $5,000 for the board's other directors, including TDSB trustees on the board.

That last item should charge up some debate at the TDSB's own table. The idea is that TLC will be self-supporting by charging management fees that come off the board's surplus properties revenue.

Score one for accountability. Now let's see if the TLC can make this board some money.

Build Green Schools.ca

These pages are a resource for students, parents, staff and neighbours who wish to make the buildings and yards in their school community sustainable, high-performance and "green". The site was originally created for members of the Runnymede Public School community in the west-end of Toronto, but has expanded. This blog is owned and maintained by Marshall Leslie (see www.mleslie.com). You can also follow us on Twitter @greenschools_ca

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