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Solving the school capacity issue is a great idea.

But not if it requires premature sprawl development on farmland.

Add your name to say no to sprawl.

If you'd like to contact the TVDSB trustees for this area, they are Joyce Bennett ([email protected]) and Jake Skinner ([email protected]).

On Monday, planning and environment committee will consider a proposal from Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan to ignore planning staff's recommendation to refuse a request from Auburn Development to change an open space designation to a low-density residential designation.

The proposal was described as an "innovative land deal" by CTV London. If it is approved, it certainly would be an example of "let's make a deal" planning.

The first part of the deal is a good idea. It involves changing the zoning in an area South of Sunningdale Rd to allow for a new school. So instead of more low-density homes, which the area already has a lot of, a school could be built. Because it is in an area that is already serviced, construction of the school could happen more quickly than waiting for another school block in a new subdivision to become available. Funding for a new school in the Northwest has already been approved by the province.

[updated on 27 Sep] Although TVDSB staff write that the New Northwest PS would help to alleviate the significant over-enrolment issues at Sir Arthur Currie Public School, the approved funding for the New Northwest School is to alleviate the pressure on the students who are currently in a holding zone to X PS [formerly Ryerson] (see page 18 of the TVDSB June 2020 accommodation plan (excerpt below)). A permanent solution for enrolment pressure at Sir Arthur Currie PS is identified as a priority to be re-submitted to the province in the future. My understanding of that is that two new schools in the Northwest are needed, not just one, and that the one new school that is funded now may not address both the holding zone students and the over-enrollment at Sir Arthur Currie PS.

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It's the second part of the deal that's a problem. It means ignoring the planning staff recommendation made earlier this year to refuse Auburn's application to change the official plan designation for its lands North of Sunningdale from Open Space to Low Density Residential. These lands are just inside the urban growth boundary but the adjacent lands to the West, North and East are outside of the urban growth boundary. The lands are currently agricultural.

Making matters worse, there's no comprehensive plan for the overall area North of Sunningdale or a servicing plan that will ensure that the lands can be serviced in a cost-effective way. Auburn has proposed temporary servicing, constructed at their cost, but it's the city and property taxpayers that are on the hook for the long-term costs of the servicing.

It's sprawl. And it comes with all the downsides of sprawl.

Solving the school capacity issue is a great idea.

Auburn selling some of their lands South of Sunningdale to the school board looks like a good way to accelerate the construction of a new school in the Northwest.

But not if it leads to premature sprawl development on farmland.

Here are the reasons planning staff gave for refusing the request from Auburn (emphasis added):

  • The proposed amendment is not consistent with the PPS 2020 as it does not ensure an appropriate process can be undertaken prior to development which would allow for the integration of land use planning, growth management, transit-supportive development, intensification and infrastructure planning to achieve cost effective development patterns, optimization of transit investments, and standards to minimize land consumption and servicing costs, ensuring that necessary infrastructure and public service facilities are or will be available.
  • The proposed amendment does not conform to the in-force policies of the 1989 Official Plan, including but not limited to the Secondary Plan policies, Urban Reserve Community Growth policies and Environmental Review policies.
  • The proposed amendment does not conform to the in-force policies of The London Plan, including but not limited to the Key Directions and Secondary Plan policies.
  • The requested amendment is premature. The site needs to be considered through a larger planning review process (a secondary plan) to determine its integration within a larger future neighbourhood, the applicable vision and character for the new neighbourhood, what an appropriate land use pattern is for the area, and other technical requirements.
  • The subject site is at a key location within the broader planning context and its designation and potential future development without consideration of the surrounding lands is not "big-picture" or long term thinking and if designated in isolation of these land, it could result in future land use, servicing and road network issues.

You can read the full staff report here.

Back in May 2021, municipal council referred this matter to Civic Administration (the vote was 10-4, with Kayabaga, Helmer, Hopkins and Turner opposed and Salih absent) to allow for more discussions with the school board.

The proposal from Deputy Mayor Morgan as well as related letters and comments are available on the planning and environment committee agenda for 27 Sept 2021.

120 signatures so far

Will you sign?


Showing 100 reactions

  • David Chamberlain
    signed 2021-09-24 20:44:16 -0400
  • Liane Fisher Bloxam
    signed 2021-09-24 20:27:27 -0400
  • Elizabeth Saettler
    signed 2021-09-24 20:23:42 -0400
  • Sarah Brooks
    signed 2021-09-24 20:03:52 -0400
  • Aaron Chandler
    signed 2021-09-24 19:59:15 -0400
  • Patti Kemp
    signed 2021-09-24 19:28:29 -0400
    In addition to all of your points, we need to protect agricultural land for food security reasons and we need to stop sprawl if council actually wants to revitalize the core. But I would also like to point out that the proposal does not allign with the declared climate emergency. Farmland, particularly when farmed with regenerative agriculture techniques, represents a major source of carbon sequestration. Developing these lands would result in a large amount of stored carbon being released into the atmosphere. Another reason why it’s a very poor proposal. London needs to stop the sprawl!
  • Abe Oudshoorn
    signed 2021-09-24 18:59:51 -0400
  • Cara Reith
    signed 2021-09-24 18:49:15 -0400
  • Matthew Hesser
    signed 2021-09-24 18:30:39 -0400
  • Chris Callaghan
    signed 2021-09-24 18:24:01 -0400
    Please do not allow more urban sprawl on the city of london. This kind of sprawl costs our city more that it gives back and it continues to damage the downtown core. We must stop this nonsense. Just say no to Auburn development’s proposals.
  • Jodi Simpson
    signed 2021-09-24 17:58:06 -0400
  • Mark Anderson
    signed 2021-09-24 17:57:50 -0400
    We really need to stop using agricultural lands for development when there’s so many areas that could be used for higher density infill as well as in some cases redevelopment of existing lower density stock
  • Sonia Wolf
    signed 2021-09-24 17:55:59 -0400
  • Linda Wilson
    signed 2021-09-24 17:54:59 -0400
  • Caitlin Waugh
    signed 2021-09-24 17:45:42 -0400
  • Laura Robinson
    signed 2021-09-24 17:42:24 -0400
  • Amanda Stratton
    signed 2021-09-24 17:40:11 -0400
    This is my neighbourhood, and I do not want my child to go to a school with 22 portables, but this is definitely not the answer. There has to be a better solution.
  • Peter Strack
    signed 2021-09-24 17:33:03 -0400
  • Adam Bohnet
    signed 2021-09-24 17:19:22 -0400
    Let us have smart growth, not more mindless sprawl!
  • Keith Risler
    signed 2021-09-24 17:16:39 -0400
    Thoughtful, wise urban planning should always solve problems of the moment in the context of the need to contain urban sprawl. We have relatively little farmland left but do have active policies in place for dealing with urban density without the need for unbridled sprawl.
  • Roufa Therrien
    signed 2021-09-24 17:08:21 -0400
    Thanks for this!
  • Cathy Wood
    signed 2021-09-24 17:05:06 -0400
  • Menno Meijer
    signed 2021-09-24 16:57:25 -0400
  • Rob Campbell
    signed 2021-09-24 16:51:40 -0400
    I am against urban sprawl
  • Micah Galizia
    signed 2021-09-24 16:36:48 -0400
  • Craig Green
    signed 2021-09-24 16:32:10 -0400
  • Shawn Adamsson
    signed 2021-09-24 16:26:19 -0400
  • Doug Rogers
    signed 2021-09-24 16:24:12 -0400
  • Timothy Pearson
    signed 2021-09-24 16:20:44 -0400
  • John McCulligh
    signed 2021-09-24 16:19:39 -0400