Issue History

Below is an attempt to summarize the chronological history of key steps during this continuing journey to strive to preserve the cherished parklands of the General Brock property. A review of the various meeting minutes, reports and presentations located below and elsewhere on this website will aid in gaining further insight into the history of this issue.

2000 - local citizens become concerned upon learning of Halton Public School Board (HPSB)'s intention to dispose of approx 6 hectares (15 acres) of the GB site. Letters of concern sent to city and ward councilor.

2000 (Sept 12) - City of Burlington's Community Services Committee reviews report regarding this proposed disposition. Report includes "The disposal of school sites has two significant impacts; the loss of green space in a community and the ability for the City to provide adequate sports facilities for our user groups." The report went on to state, "An additional impact to the City is the ability to finance for the purchase of any sites. There are currently no funds allocated throughout the City's Capital Budget over the next 10 years to purchase surplus school sites".

The Sale Process as outlined by city staff June 10, 2003:
Note: a number of variables with the issue have changed since this 2003 presentation

  1.  Introduction - why is the city involved?
    • City council has always taken a keen interest in the Halton District School Board  
    • Surplus School process. School sites are community amenities
    • Allows for community input into the future of the site
  2. Surplus School Sites
    • with funding formula changes, school boards are in the position where they must dispose of surplus property to get funding for new schools, so so under Ont. Reg 444/98
    • city has successfully worked with the HDSB to dispose of school sites
  3. Disposal Process
    • the board must offer to sell the lands to a number of public bodies including the City.
    • Board must receive fair market value for the property
    • City has an opportunity to decline or put in an offer of purchase for the property
    • Through our process we have always put in an offer of purchase, with conditions
  4.  City's Involvement
    • Council approved a strategy for city to deal with surplus school sites
    • Strategy allows for public involvement so neighbourhoods can become familiar with the process.
    • allows public input to influence re-development of the site
    • allows opportunity to maintain valuable green space in the community-often with value added opportunities.
  5. Conditional Offer
    City's practice in dealing with surplus school sites;
    • put in an offer on the site with conditions
    • conditions require city to secure a private partnership for the development of the site
    • development may include re-use of the school building or re-development of the site with a compatible land use
    • both options would require some green space be maintained
  6. Request for Expressions of Interest
    City puts out a RFEI for proposals. Proposals are to identify the following:
    • possible partners, what a potential partner is willing to pay for the land, types of uses that may be accommodated on the site, parkland opportunities within the development proposal
  7. RFEI Review
    Proposals are reviewed by:
    • City staff with input from the Ward Councillor as to acceptable proposals and land use compatibility
    • with school board staff to ensure competitive market value is achieved.
    • ideas in proposals are reviewed with neighbourhood through a public meeting
  8. Public Input
    • public acceptance of any proposed development
    • input into next stage - request for firm proposals
    • important to get right because further input is limited until a successful proposal is provided.
  9. Request for Proposals
    The RFP's are prepared:
    • identifies the specifics of an re-development options i.e. housing type, zoning
    • identifies location and size of parkland
    • addresses any conditions/requirements
    • requires a firm offer with a deposit
    Proposals are reviewed with the Board staff an assessed based on same criteria as RFEI
  10. Approvals
    Successful Proposal:
    • Negotiated land deal is confidential until successful bidder is approved
    • Considered by Council and School Bd
    • Enters into agreements to purchase the lands, usually based on conditions
    • Any necessary planning application requirements follow public process
  11. Benefits of the process
    • City has a level of control over the process
    • Opportunity to have public involvement in the process
    • Opportunity to maintain school building and/or green space
    • School Bid obtains market value
    • Often have value added opportunities for the city

2003 (June 10) - City of Burlington hosts public meeting at Central Library in response to HPSB's  announcement to close the GB school and dispose of the entire site.  Minutes of this meeting and presentation by City staff.

2003 - local community members concerned about the potential loss of this valued parkland gather to form a group to raise public awareness of the issue. Website created, press releases sent out to media and issue flyers distributed throughout community.

2003 (Sept 17) - community group hosts issue awareness meeting at Roseland Park Country Club with over 130+ in attendance, standing room only, local councillors, Mayor and the press. Petitions signed, concerns, questions and expectations voiced and many lawn signs sold.

2003 - pledge letters of support received from Mayor and ward  councilor Jack Dennison following Roseland meeting. Community group joins with Councilor Dennison to form Committee to present to city council. (First Meeting Minutes) CITY OF BURLINGTON . The General Brock Parkland Committee presents to city council.
[ Presentation ]

2003 (Sept-Dec) - series of meetings held as Community committee and also with City of Burlington staff. Subcommittees formed, initial site evaluation criteria created, committee forwards city a number of outstanding public inquiries raised at the June, 03 public meeting.

2004 (Jan) - City hires Phillips Engineering to conduct a GB building assessment in addition to a Site review.

2004 (Feb 4) - Committee/City meeting to review:  HPSB timelines, information/update from city staff, technical studies update, post secondary school proposal, public inquiries re: expropriation of lands and the development of a general proposed action strategy including a June, 2004 public open house.
[ Minutes  02 04 04 ]

2004 (Feb 9) - receive Site appraisal : regional flood limit affecting total of 4.05 acres(1.64ha) out of a total of 26.15 acres (10.5 ha).  Demolition costs for school estimated to be $600,000. Estimated market value of: low density($250,000), medium($275,000), high ($300,000) with a "blended" assessment provided of 22.10 acres = $5,500,000 +/- 10%.

2004 (June) - public meeting cancelled with City of Burlington informing Committee group of Halton District Catholic School Board (HDCSB)'s intent to purchase the site. Committee was thrilled as we awaited confirmation of specifics. Group forwards letter to HDCSB expressing interest in this proposal. Issue put on a "hold" pending decision making.

2005 (Feb) - meeting with city staff and representatives from both Boards of Education. The proposed acquisition of the site by the Catholic Board off the table now and Public Board states their position to move forward and dispose of the property to secure funds for other priorities.

2005 - Committee continues to meet, brainstorm, strategize and keep the issue awareness moving. Committee member presents as delegate to council regarding the city's review of spending significant dollars to expand city hall over priority of identified need to preserve existing green space. Meanwhile market value of site climbs to estimated $400,000/acre putting the cost at roughly 10 million - getting way out of reach for local fundraising campaign opportunities. Committee reviews and evaluates a number of site development options put forth by the city. Very discouraging process.

2005 (April 27) - McMaster University presentation to community committee and city staff re: potential option for GB site. Committee provides list of inquiries raised by general public. A scheduled May 26 public meeting was cancelled to await further confirmation of McMaster's proposal so that the public could be more fully and accurately informed with this new information. The public meeting was to be rescheduled for the fall.

2005 (May 18) - City of Burlington report to Community and Corporate Services Committee re: that city continue to work with our Community group and potential partners such as McMaster and the Halton School Boards and report back to council in the fall.
[ Report ]

2005 (October) - Our Committee contacts city staff as still no word on next steps or issue updates etc. Meeting held Nov 3. Market value of property continues to climb to estimated $500,000 per acre.  Mayor indicates that McMaster will likely locate in preferred downtown location and not GB. HPSB wants to complete the deal for the site by June 1, 2006. City staff were to prepare a report to present to Community and Corporate Services Committee and council regarding next steps in the process and information about potential impacts of various development options.  Our group would be provided with a draft of the report to review prior to the Dec 6 CCSC mtg. It was agreed that the now too late, fall public open house mtg would take place in January, 2006.

2005 (November) -our committee reviews draft report and is surprised, disappointed and frustrated with much of the content, choice of site development options and general disregard of existence of the community group efforts and input. City staff agree to consider and include a number of the points raised by our group and update report.
[ City of Burlington Report ]

2005 (December 5) - in response to the City report, our community group prepared a six delegate PowerPoint presentation for the Community and Corporate Services meeting and a follow-up presentation at council on December 12, 2006.Council votes in support of our group's request to offer two public open houses AT the GB school location. Both the city and the community group options were to be presented at these public meetings along with feedback surveys for distribution and collection from the public in attendance.
[ Presentation ]

2005/Dec to Jan, 2006 - Our Committee works extensively to prepare for and promote the Jan 26 public meetings. Press releases, flyers, mailout to all households in ward, door to door contacts, email and letter campaign and compilation of displays from vast amount of public, user group letters of concern etc.

2006 (Jan 26) - Community and City presentations at public open house. LOTS of support for parkland preservation at General Brock was reflected at the two public open houses held on January 26! The approximate 500+ in attendance, listened to the various speakers and presentations made by city staff and this Committee on the key components and status of this issue.  Most importantly, these forums provided YOU, the interested citizen,  with the opportunity to have your voice heard. A number of significant, constructive and heartfelt questions, concerns and ideas were expressed. PowerPoint presentation and GB Public open house -Facilitators report

Some results.....

1. The majority of those in attendance completed our Committee's questionnaire which asked for feedback to help guide us with next steps. The form asked for a ranking of your concerns, park preferences, for your ideas and general comments.  See copy of open house questionnaire: GENERAL BROCK PARK

A general summary of the completed questionnaires is as follows:

Question 1: To help us better understand what park features are most important to you, please rank the following: Rank 1 thru 10 (1 of greatest importance, 10 least important)

Senior Soccer Fields lit _______ Junior Soccer Fields ____

Senior Baseball diamonds lit _______ Junior Baseball Diamonds _____

Open Space _______ Public Parking Area _____ Running track _______

Tree Farm-woodlot _____ Existing Trees _______ Playground set _____

The areas that were overall most important to people included:

#1 Open space

#2 Existing Trees

#3 Tree farm

 #4 Junior Soccer Field

#5 Junior Baseball Diamond

** Public parking was the least important park feature #10, followed by the Senior Baseball Diamond #9, then Senior Soccer Fields #8**It is important to note that the soccer fields and baseball diamonds make up much of the Open Space, which was #1 in both surveys, and this was noted on some questionnaires.

Question 2: If any, please rank the areas that concern you the most: 1 thru 8 (1 of greatest concern) Loss of Open Space ____ Density of Infill ____ Traffic ____ Johnston Drive vehicle access ____ Loss Of Senior Soccer Field ____ Loss of Baseball Diamonds ____ Loss of Junior Soccer Field ____ Loss of trees and habitat

The areas of primary concern included the following:

#1 Open Space

#2 Traffic

#3 Loss of Trees and Habitat

#4 Junior Soccer Field

** Area of least concern was access to Johnston Dr. #8, followed by Baseball Diamonds #7

Most questionnaires included comments, most conveying quite passionately about the critical need to preserve the park in it's entirety. Some of the most common feedback included:

The majority would like to see all the park preserved.

The vision for the majority of people is that the park be maintained as is for all generations.

People specifically noted it should be something for both seniors and children to enjoy. Things such as walking trails, playgrounds and open space.

Financial suggestions that have the most representation include City responsibility to fund through Capital Budget, allocating money annually, and taking a proactive stance. Corporate Sponsorship was also a popular vote.

2. THANK YOU to the many of you who indicated on these questionnaires and directly to our Committee members that you really care about this issue and want to get involved. We need your help! 

If you would like to contact our Committee's Volunteer Co-ordinator, please email:

Together, we believe we can make a difference!

2006 –Feb 28: The General Brock Parkland Committee sent one of our members as a delegate to the February 28, 06 City of Burlington's Community and Corporate Services Committee meeting. Our delegate presented our position in response to a report presented by city staff on this same evening. Our Committee strives to ensure we have presence at all City hall discussions pertaining to the General Brock property issue. Feb 28 presentation City Staff report: City of Burlington Report

2006 -April 10 - Committee meets with City staff to discuss updates on   School Board process, communications with the Province (Ministry of Education), review of open house report, fundraising potential and more -
[ View the Meeting Minutes ]

2006 -June 6 -   Committee meets with City staff to discuss updates, participate in fundraising information workshop and more. Agenda available here:   Note: awaiting meeting minutes for this date from city GBPCagenda Jun-06.doc

2006 -June  -   Sound of Music Festival - Thousands of issue brochures were distributed, Save General Brock Parklands t-shirts were sold and LOTS of petition signatures collected to support the important issue of parkland preservation. The taxpayers of Burlington very much CARE about the need to protect green spaces and places to play, exercise and connect the community.

2006 -September to November -   A spin-off group : STTOP - Save Today's and Tomorrow's Outdoor Parkland Committee was formed as a result of citizen interest and support for the Save General Brock Parklands issue. Members worked very hard during the months leading up to the municipal election day, ensuring this priority issue was on the agenda. Countless meetings, attendance at candidate debates, the distribution of thousands of information brochures, snowball emails and the implementation of a parkland preservation questionnaire forwarded to all candidates were some of the many efforts offered to the cause. These strategies were successful in helping the public to become more aware of the facts associated with the devastating loss of parklands as a result of school closures. ALL candidates were reminded of this priority issue and some included parkland preservation as a key focus in their campaigns. See letter of support from Mayor Cam Jackson on the Homepage!

2007—March 6, Amy Schnurr presented to council regarding  the need to include parkland preservation as a priority when determining the allocation of funds in the city's capital budget.  "Currently zero dollars are allocated to protect well used places like the General Brock parklands and play fields.  This property and all future school lands that may become at risk as growth and intensification increases , require a strategic plan to ensure these valued lands with recreational playing fields are not reduced to housing developments with small parkettes."
[ Presentation ]

2007—March 19, status of the property remains the same although the Halton Board of Education was recently quoted in the newspaper stating they have every intent of disposing of all of the GB site. The timing is not yet known at this time.ore must remain diligent in ensuring the City acquires dedicated parkland at this location!

2007 -March 21, Committee member forwards letter to MPP Joyce Savoline regarding the school closure issue and General Brock specifically.

2007– March 28, Committee members present to council.

  1. Presentation 1
  2. Presentation 2
  3. Presentation 3
  4. Presentation 4

2007 - April 10, Committee member Rebecca Hodgson spoke to the Budget & Strategic Planning Committee concerning General Brock and parkland preservation within the City’s proposed budgets.  Hodgson stated that she believed current park dedication funds were not being used for preservation of school lands and asked council to support a new strategic land purchase fund.
[ Presentation ]

2007—April 24, Committee/City meeting held with HDSB Director and Trustees Peggy Russell, Burlington and Donna Danielli, Milton
in attendance.

The City of Burlington is currently developing its 2002-2010 Strategic Plan. The uniqueness of the General Brock site was well represented at the Budget meetings by the various delegations and is being taken into consideration. Council made a strategic decision to commit funds to a Strategic Parkland Acquisition Fund as a direct result of
the GBPC’s presentation. This is a significant success."

"We’re looking at how the Strategic Land Purchase Fund will unfold, and looking at the overall picture. We’re 3 to 4 months from setting out the Strategic Plan. The bottom line is…we’re positioning ourselves to be ready when the board makes its decision about General Brock Park. We have an interest in the entire site. There are no specific steps, we’re just trying to get ready for what comes."
[ Minutes ]

2007 May 2, A number of Committee members presented to the Halton District School Board the issue of General Brock and the variety of concerns regarding it's future.

Bob Hicks (STTOP) presented on the value of urban green space from a local and global environmental perspective. 
[ Presentation ]

Amy Schnurr provided an overview of the Save General Brock history and primary issues of concern."General Brock is the largest school property of green space at risk in the history of this city. If these lands are lost to development, there's no turning back."
[ Presentation ]

Katie Brown shared concerns regarding the value of school lands At a community level and the loss of 86% of school parklands to date in Burlington. "Schools are more that bricks and mortar, schools contribute to the student, the school system, the local economy and the community, and these contributions must be considered."
[ Presentation ]

MMurray DePape discussed the significance of playfield use in this City and the need to ensure adequate facilities and services are available for current and future generations.

2007—May 8, -Committee member Katie Brown delegates to City Council on the relevance of the GB preservation issue to that of the  Uptown Parkette agenda item. Unfortunately Ms. Brown was cut off by Chair/Councilor Carol D'Amelio and prohibited from continuing to share her viewpoints.
[ Presentation ]

2007  May 09, "Voters should decide park's future"  citizen letter submission to the Burlington Post:


Did I read your front page article -- Last ditch plea to save Brock park (the Post, May 4) -- correctly?

"Residents ... are PLEADING with Halton's public school board ... how it disposes of the Brock property"?

I'll be the first to admit that I do not follow how the school board operates -- looks like I should -- but I do vote for a trustee to act on my behalf.

I do not think that anyone should have to plead with the school board, as it is the taxpayers who actually "own" this property. I believe it would not only
be correct, but imperative, to have the taxpayers vote on this very important decision. This is too big a decision for trustees or senior management to

The board should lay out the pros and cons for voters to read/study and set a date for a general vote.

2007 May 18, Burlington Post news - regarding city funding proposed McMaster University campus, Committee member Amy Schnurr stated: "The city shouldn't forget about the environment as it looks at other development projects like a multi-million-dollar university campus or a performing arts centre, she said. Schnurr doesn't necessarily say no to a Mac campus, but she said the environment is a clear priority for the community and she doesn't want to see an either-or situation emerge.

"The priority for Canadians at this point is the well-being of the environment," Schnurr said, noting she'd like to see money set aside to buy more parkland.

2007 June 27, Burlington Post news - regarding proposed McMaster University Campus and public concerns over downtown location. Committee member Kathleen Brown wrote: "Why can't the different levels of government and educational facilities work together to recycle and transfer lands already set up for educational needs, instead of making the taxpayers pay again for land they have purchased already?
This could result in a win-win solution, the taxpayers don't have to finance yet another downtown initiative and lose its valuable parking
amenities and the General Brock site gets reused for educational purposes and stays in public hands."

2007 June 28, Committee members attend City's public open house forums regarding strategic plan reminding staff to include the environment, urban green space preservation and the need to maintain all sports playfields in the city to provide opportunity for healthy lifestyles.

2007 -July 3,   Committee member Ian Grant (STTOP) delegates to Council in support of newly proposed "Strategic Land Acquisition Fund" - "When we see it recommended in the 2008 Current Budget that $240,000.00 be allocated to the Strategic Land Purchase account, and also 10% of the actual receipts from cash in lieu funding, we realize that we have a new City Council which is serious about environmental stewardship. ...If you vote to support both these recommendations, we will feel confident that the leadership of this city will take us forward to a greener, more sustainable Burlington with a higher quality of life for us all. 
[ Presentation ]

2007 - October 18, Save General Brock Parkland Committee sends letter to Halton District School Board Director and Trustees inquiring about expiry period of property disposition process. 
[ Letter ]

For 2008 updates, please visit the What's New page.

"This park is a rare treasure, and should not be developed! The area already has too few natural spaces."

(public opinions page)