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County seeks another bid for QE school in Picton

The County is asking the school board to reconsider a joint expression of interest for the former Queen Elizabeth School property.

“Our vision for this property offers the greatest potential benefit for the community,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson. “We want the opportunity to make our case for the property to the local school board so it remains in the hands of the municipality to address critical needs.

“Among those are housing options for businesses’ employees. We also want to stem the migration of young families out of the County because they can’t find affordable housing.”

The mayor notes Picton has an urgent need for more affordable and attainable housing, given the make-up of the County’s labour market and access to health-care and professional services.

However, increasing housing stock in the town is challenging given the lack of available land in the residential core.

“As most people are aware, we have an acute shortage of vacant land in settlement areas – particularly Picton – that could be developed for attainable housing. The chance to acquire such a large, strategic parcel of municipally serviced land in the heart of Picton does not come along very often,” he said.

“Council has identified housing needs as one of its strategic priorities during its term. In addition to addressing affordable housing, we would also have the opportunity to improve traffic flow in the neighbourhood and potentially co-locate municipal and other services at that site.”

After closing Queen Elizabeth School in 2018, the Hastings Prince Edward District School Board intends to dispose of the surplus real estate property.

The County and Prince Edward-Lennox and Addington Social Services (PELASS) submitted a joint EOI to negotiate the purchase of the 4.5-acre property at 35 Barker Street. However, The County was informed in February 2019 that an organization higher on the priority list was invited to submit an offer to purchase the property.

Under Ontario Regulation 444/98, the Province of Ontario has an established method for disposing of an educational property declared surplus to the needs of the board and that process for disposal under Ontario Regulation 444/98 section 3. (1) requires that the board solicit expressions of interest from a designated list of organizations.

While the municipality is in 12th position on the list, PELASS is fourth, after the French language public school board, the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board and the French Catholic district school board.

It is unconfirmed which made the expression of interest, and what happened to that bid.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Rob #2 says:

    Rough in terms of interior finishes. Not a structural engineer and don’t have a master key so not sure about the rest. Presumably the insides would be completely gutted in a conversion?

    If buildings are to be re-purposed it needs a stable budget behind it, one that probably only a Government-run effort can handle.

  2. Argyle says:

    Both Pinecrest and Queen Elizabeth schools were found to be in better shape physically and mechanically than CML Snider during the Arc process . Board politics closed them and kept the school in Wellington open…..however it’s a shame that it is taking so long to figure out what will happen to them….

  3. Mark says:

    How does Queen Elizabeth School look in rough shape? It’s in great condition and a school a year ago. It is a prime site for affordable housing.

  4. Rob #2 says:

    It will be interesting to see what becomes of Queen Elizabeth School. No one can confirm but the most logical assumption for the mystery bidder is the Catholic school board. Who else would want the place for a school, given it’s size?

    Maybe I’m cynical but to think that these buildings are automatically great candidates for housing is unclear to me. Both Queen Elizabeth and Pinecrest looked to be in pretty rough shape when they closed.

    And maybe I’m a conspiracy theorist but the writing was probably on the wall for both of them for a decade or more and long before the ARC process was even hinted at publicly.

    During the ARC process there was a considerable amount of information on the school board website including Designated Substance Reports (asbestos) and also ones outlining the mechanical and structural states of the buildings. To be fair these were probably truthful but with the boards pre-determined desires incorporated into them, ones they probably started working toward a decade ago.

    At any rate the work necessary at these schools was substantial and the cost to keep them open was one of the deciding factors in closing them.

    Regardless of the school board running it or some entity constructing housing, they need roofs looked after, new windows, etc.

    I’m uncertain that anyone can put a price tag on what re-purposing these old schools will cost, and when you are begging for donations you really wish you had a fixed number. The surprises along the way can make or break these projects and in buildings this old there are bound to be many.

    More power to putting housing in these buildings, if they are both available for this. I just don’t think it’s anywhere as easy as it’s been billed.

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