Your Opinion

Here is your chance to get up on the soapbox and publicly voice your opinions and concerns about the future of the General Brock High School site. We will attempt to post your views (or portions of them) as web space permits and provided they are not slanderous or injurious in nature.

Please forward your valued comments to saveourparks@cogeco.ca and indicate whether or not you would like your full name published.

Site created on blood, sweat and tears of taxpayers

In my opinion, there is one point of clarity that rises above others in the debate over General Brock School and the associated green space. This property was developed with the tax revenues of the local residents, to serve the local residents. The fact that the school board has a good fiscal argument for moving their assets from the Brock site to another does not mitigate the city's and province's responsibilities to maintain an area that the residents have paid for. By paying property taxes, school taxes and municipal taxes, the residents of south Burlington have earned the right to demand that the Brock site remain a part of their community. Whether legally described as a school board property or otherwise, the Brock site is used by, owned by and it's disposition should be governed by the residents of south Burlington.
Andrew W.
What will your legacy be?

Mayor MacIsaac,

I recently attended the Brock Park meeting and while I appreciate your honest response to the questions you were asked I am left with a feeling of great frustration and disappointment. I am not a resident of Ward 4 but I am a concerned citizen of Burlington who has lived in this city all of my life. As a mother of a young son I wonder if this will be the type of city I will want to raise him in or merely the next Mississauga in the making. Sadly I believe we are well on our way to the latter.

After listening to all parties represented at the meeting it seems obvious that the community members view this as an issue of preserving parkland and you and your city colleagues see this as a "budget" issue. I lost count of how many times I heard "we just don’t have the money". As a business person I can appreciate that funds are not endless and it is necessary to be fiscally responsible, but I would like to remind you that this is our, the tax payer’s money- not yours or the ward councillor's. I would argue that the money does exist but you have made the decision to commit it to less worthy, higher profile projects that increase your profile as the mayor, but will likely give little to the residents of this city.

Given that this is our money and you are our civil servants and should therefore represent us, I can’t help wonder how many citizens of Burlington asked you to spend millions of dollars of our money on developing Spencer Smith park with piers and boat ponds and other "bells and whistles" that frankly will not add enough to the enjoyment of the park to justify the expenditure. It would seem that the millions that you committed to this project would be better allocated to saving existing parklands. I don’t know many residents that would encourage you to develop existing parkland just so we can have a new fountain at Spencer Smith.

Frankly, I feel that the money you are spending on projects like Spencer Smith development, the McMaster campus and the performing arts theatre are being spent by you and your colleagues because they are PR opportunities, not because they are in the best interest of the citizens of Burlington. I would challenge you to show me documentation that shows that Burlington residents would prefer their tax dollars to be spent on new developments like the above mentioned rather than saving mature parkland. One of the city employees even admitted at the meeting that there was money in a "special projects" account but that money was already ear marked by the city for the McMaster campus and performing arts theatre.

It seems to me that there is money for saving parkland like Brock, with out the twenty percent tax hike you mentioned in the meeting, but you have decided that it would be better spent elsewhere. Given the millions of dollars that developers are paying to build on, and in my opinion desecrate our once charming downtown core, you owe it to us to find money to preserve existing parklands. I am disappointed that you have chosen your legacy as the mayor of this city to be as a developer rather than someone who cares about the quality of life of the residents.

Regards, Giselle Jones
Hiding Behind Numbers?

I also attended the Brock Park meeting and I too am left with a feeling of great frustration and disappointment. I am a resident of Burlington and I am concerned that this is the tip of the iceberg and we are on slippery slope to intensification – everything is based on money – no one with a long term vision of a community – it is all for short term gain. To have a future you need to invest in it, you need to compliment it, not take away from it.

It seems that the city has two positions as far as parks and green space is concerned. It appears the city was previously wise in its decision to make sure that any newly developed land had sufficient green space set aside as part of the development process. This is great for new areas but this same policy does not apply to the older established areas – there is no policy in place for the balance of Burlington to help maintain recreational areas – and in particular it does not apply in the case of General Brock. What is at issue is that some residents in the newer areas get the new amenities while the older areas are being ignored, sold off, or not being properly maintained. We all pay taxes and are entitled to the same respect as far as mutual community facilities.
Burlington is a bedroom community and unfortunately it has been designed around the automobile. The intensification and infill in the older areas has resulted with the pushing all our recreational areas to newer developed areas. This only increases pressure on our existing road systems and forces anyone who partakes in an activity to drive. The city has a very poor network of trails and bike paths as alternate transportation, so every one must drive. This means more of the recreational area has to be also designated for parking. The sad part about it is that for a growing city the total useable recreational area is actually decreasing not increasing in area. We are not even replacing the recreational areas we are losing. It is a sad statement for a city that should be looking after all residents not just those in the newer areas or those special projects that only benefit a few. Most people who live in Burlington work outside of Burlington. These same people come home each night and take their kids to their sports or want to take advantage of our parks. Most are unaware of the potential demise of parkland and recreational facilities. One day they will wake up and wonder what happened? By then it will be too late, our city hall will have quietly depleted our land based in favour of a tax revenue resource. Our sports parks are already overused, as it was so clearly stated by Lloyd from the BYSC at the General Brock meeting. There is a shortage of open spaces to practice and play – and now the plan is to move this parkland further into the countryside – so even the simplest activities of enjoying open parkland will require a trip in a car.

I read in the Burlington Post how the city has received awards for its budgeting process. It is wonderful that the budgeting process is so well managed however if the desires and wishes of the general population are ignored or the underlying budget objectives are not supporting projects that provide benefit to the majority of its citizens then it is truly an ineffective budget. Unfortunately it is all too easy to hide behind a budget and numbers. Burlington has one of the lowest property tax rates in this region - however the question is what do we get for our money. Most people in principle are willing to support a tax base if they know they receive something of value for it. A budget should not be viewed as a process strictly to keep costs low (this is not the purpose of a budget) but it should be a process to maximize the mutual benefits – to maximize the objectives of the stakeholders – the taxpayers. A successful budget is not one that can boast the lowest annual increase but one that can truly state that the residents of the city support and endorse the level of expenditure. In my mind the city’s position to minimize taxes does not take into consideration what the residents of Burlington truly value. Minimizing taxes through building intensification and increasing the tax base is short sighted. As the city grows, so does the city infrastructure and annual expenses and the capital costs required to maintain the newly developed properties. This growth comes with inherent costs that are often not fully understood.

The number bantered about for Brock was 11 million. I believe that would be for the complete site. If we were to look at preserving only the park land section this could be considerably less, possibly around half – say $6Million. In fact one developer suggested that he would develop the area where the school was and keep the park space as it was. There were people from the banking industry at this meeting who also saw that there were ways to make the financing work – and it would not result in the 20% budget increase talked about. Most purchases like this are financed over a longer period of time and the annual cost can be quite reasonable. So to say it cannot be done because they do not have the money, is just reinforcing a pre-determined position presented by city staff that it will not be done. When this is the current prevailing position of the city staff – it must also reflect the prevailing position the elected officials – after all where does the city staff get their direction. The simple fact that the one option to keep Brock’s Parkland was never even presented, told a very telling tale that the city staff have a clear mandate to not pursue this option. If preserving Brock is a priority for the elected officials it should be the preferred alternative. How you get there is what should be addressed and discussed – not that it cannot be done, this is a defeatist attitude. If the city was in support of maintaining parkland they could have at least made a financial gesture to support it to a value of $ xxx dollars over a number of years with the challenge for the balance to come from other sources or through other options. This would have proven their commitment to the cause. We need a city hall that supports a healthy lifestyle – one that includes sufficient green space for all residents regardless of age and activity. This vision of a community will attract more people and investment as a great place for people to live and work. It will be seen as a progressive community.

What I do not understand is, where is it mandated that all open space must be in-filled. Who decides that it must be filled with residential development. Is there someone holding a gun to the city’s head telling them they must intensify and fill in every available space. Why not take a stand and change the zoning for all existing parks etc that are zoned as residential and have them changed to parkland – there should always be ways to protect our parkland which adds to the unique nature of our city. Development for development sake does not make Burlington a better place to live. The cost of development is not strictly a cash flow issue it is a lifestyle issue.

Murray D
Don't Compromise

I'm a bit more cynical about the politics of this issue and politicians in general.

Reading over your web site I'm surprised at the conciliatory attitude. The constant use of the words 'maximise' and 'at least' 15.5 acres', leaves the future decisions up to broad (gross) interpretation. As if half or quarter of a loaf maximises the end result. The fact that the City has not budgeted to acquire this property is a negative omen. The fact people argue that the only road in and out is via Spruce is a red herring as the city allows easements all the time and access to New Street is just a matter of application.
Selling the property to developers for the highest bid is the win-win proposition for both the City and the School Board. The property represents juicy tax income potential for the City for which it has to make little or no investment. That's the name of the game......... Achieve the highest tax density possible. The developers have the City in their pockets. Look what was done to Strathcona School property on Walker's Line. I could not believe my eyes to see how many homes they managed to squeeze onto that lot. So much for the 5% green space formula then.

I think that you need to approach this action with a no compromise position. Either the property is taken over and used as always e.g. by McMaster or Sheridan as an extension learning centre or the like; or a civic centre; or as an Community Performing Arts Centre; etc............ or the existing building is demised and the property reverts to one large park and the City picks up the tab. The way to achieve this is to get the whole south side ( and any other Burlington people) signed in on this. You need to go house to house on this and repeatedly. The petition must be uncompromising. The way it reads now you will be lucky to get 3- 5 acres. All the statements by the politicians are sucker statements. Even Dennison doesn't come out fighting on this. He should be leading the charge. As for Jackson, he has no stroke at Queen's Park

Tom B.
Burlington needs green space

If I still lived in Burlington I would help more - good for you for doing your best to save park space. I support your group 100%. Burlington does not need more housing developments it needs more open space.

Kathy B.
Keep our Habitat

The General Brock building and surrounding parkland have been and should remain an educational, social, sports and ecological haven for ALL Burlington residents - flora, fauna; wild, domesticated; ourselves, our parents, children and grandchildren. We need the space and beauty: the serenity at dawn and the thrill of the game at sunset; the hopping rabbits, the perked fox ears, the singing birds and laughing children; the community of dog-walkers, joggers, soccer, football and baseball players.

We do not need more housing, congestion, pollution, noise and tragic accidents on New Street.

Brenda & Jack M.

Keep Burlington's Integrity

One of the reasons I moved to Burlington, many years ago now, was the openness and outdoor sporting areas available. It suited our family activities completely. If the city rids us of these open spaces then Burlington becomes just another city, much like Hamilton or Mississauga.

I lived in another country during my younger days and I guess that one needs to experience lack of space and facilities before one can appreciate truly what makes Burlington attractive. Future Burlington generations, I am sure, will look upon us with contempt for depriving them of such a valuable resource.

We must find a way to preserve the General Brock land, if not for ourselves then for our future children and grandchildren.

Roger K.
School Parklands lost to development....no more!

I support keeping this as Brock Park retaining the sports fields as the only large fields in this area used by teams with players residing in all parts of Burlington. Developing this would cause more pollution and congestion in an area that has lost Laurie Smith School park land and Strathcona School parkland to development in an area between Walkers and Guelph and now with Ryerson School also to be closed there would be further development.

Tuck School is already overcrowded with portables after the Board of Education predicted minimal enrolments and wanted to close Tuck in the late 1980's in a study that eliminated the other two schools. So much for their future planning and recognizing neighbourhood turnover to younger families and lots of children.

This must be retained as an important greenspace for the whole of Burlington and possibly helping combat pollution in this city.

Mary Lou M.

Think of the Children

My son went to Brant Children's Centre on New Street. They went to General Brock Park countless times to play and have picnics. It's a great park/place! Please don't give it up so developers can put in yet another townhouse complex or worse another plaza (strip mall).

Thank you!

Cindy K.
Save this Well Used Park

Sir:
I felt that your questions regarding the committee presentation (Save General Brock Park) this evening were fair and insightful. I appreciate that you and the City are giving this issue a fair hearing.

As a resident who backs on General Brock, for fourteen years now, I am in a situation to observe just how the park land is used. Each weekend the sound of whistles is constant, and sometime irritating. However, that is a small price to pay for what is clearly a much used and much loved sports area. It is rare for a weekend morning or afternoon to pass without several games in progress and many spectators enjoying the sport. Each morning I observe (as does my dog - vocally) several dog walkers and fitness walkers circling the park. I am also surprised to see teenagers hanging out; in a nice quiet way. They like to explore the creek and the greenery that borders the area. I have never had a problem with people who seem to respect the area for its peace and quiet. I have planted a dozen or so pine trees adjoining my property and enjoy seeing others enjoy them too. My only complaint is that the school has too much pavement and ignored the need to plant trees to soften the viewscape.

For fourteen years I have noted how very much that park is used at all hours and by all kinds of people. Driving to north Burlington to play sports is just not the same. General Brock is a private, quiet oasis that is a benefit to the entire city. I believe that this point was made quite effectively during the presentation.

As a long time Burlington resident, you too must be aware of the infilling that is going on in South Burlington. The green spaces have almost all disappeared and we have become a city of four lanes highways, strip malls and cars, cars, cars. I have no doubt that my property value would escalate if expensive homes were built behind me. However, I believe that this would be a terrible mistake and I appreciate your support of preserving the last 25 acres of grass left south of New Street.

Ian B.
Great School

In 1969 I was thrown out of the public school system because I was out of control and not learning anything. I was then forced to attend G.B.H.S. During the first couple of years at Brock I had made some serious adjustments in my attitude mainly due to the faculty at that school. The friends I had that did not attend that school ridiculed me relentlessly for attending a "Loser School" Well here it is in 2004, and the shop class I attended, thanks to Mr. Smith, a teacher at that school led me to a successful career as an owner/technician of an appliance repair shop in Simcoe County. It saddens me to no end to see a school of great potential that has played a tremendous role in my life closing.

Frank Beckers
Thanks Brock!

Its sad to see such a place be closed. I graduated from General Brock High in 1978. Today I am fulfililng the dreams that this school helped to create. I retired October 2004 from the Canadian Armed Forces and now Manage a large garage in Sydney Nova Scotia. Although General Brock High School was apart of my past, it is also part of my future, as the lessons and the opportunities to succeed in my present line of work all began at Brock.

Ed F.
Realtor View for Townhomes

I would like to see as much as possible of the parkland being retained for sports.

Realistically I would think that some development is likely if the school is not taken over by some other educational facility and is demolished. Something similar to Roseland Green (3333 New Street) would be OK with me. As a realtor I can see the need for new one level living space (ideally bungalow townhomes) for residents of the area as they decide that they no longer want to handle the upkeep of large gardens etc.

I would much prefer that Johnston does not connect through to New Street.

Ian D.
Let's Buy the Land

I am also interested in purchasing the property at the back of my house. I feel there are many people on Pine Cove that would like the opportunity to purchase back their land at a reasonable price. There are also more children moving into this area all the time. What will they do -sell the school and then have to build another to take its place? That is what is happening in Toronto now.

The enrolment is going up all the time. It will cost more in this day and age to build another school to take this ones place. Maybe they could close part of the school or rent it out to organizations that need offices or places for general meetings. There is also a need for day care. ... It is a shame to lose the green space and the animals that have made their homes there for years.

Then there are the sports which keeps our children off the street and out of trouble. Maybe they should think of this. Something to keep our children off the street and out of trouble. I also like to listen to the band when it is out there practicing. Lets keep our land green

Carol J.
Please Save these Lands

I often go walking in the park, it is one of the few spaces that is open and tranquil. Developing on this property will further limit space for walkers and sports teams, and bring unwanted traffic to the area. Please save these lands!

Valerie H.

We need the green space

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

Trish H.
Outraged

I have lived on Johnston drive my entire life. I was outraged when I heard the city wants to pave over the beautiful parkland of General Brock! not only is it an important place for people to play sports, but also a wonderful place where people can walk and play with their dogs, and for children to play.

I myself have many great childhood memories from that place. it's also a good place for trees (there's an area there with rows of trees, on top of all the other ones everywhere). It is simply not worth building anything over a parkland where so many people find an attachment to, whether it's playing sports, or growing up being able to play around in there.
If the parkland were to be destroyed, it would be as if the city took something away from the community. If the city must do something about the school that's closing, they should try to make changes with the school, not to the valuable parkland. I appreciate every effort made to try and save this place.

Etienne B
Tar and Feather the Urban Specialists

I am a past resident of Burlington. I find in my past visit that what remaining green space exists is being looked over for "development'. These communities that surround parkland, should stand up and put these politicians and so called "urban specialists" in tar and feathers. Let the developers build on the fringe of the sprawl. Keep what you have, because when it is gone, that is it kiddo. Parks are for people, not developers.

Rick S.
A Wretched Idea

When I was first informed of this movement I was outraged! Why in the world do we need yet another road connecting 2 major streets that already have a million other roads connecting them!? I believe that if the city of Burlington WAS to tear down General Brock High School to make room for this roadway, many things would be corrupted and many memories lost.

I myself have many amazing memories from the fields of General Brock. From High School football games to just hanging out and having fun with friends. What other open fields and areas do we have to play in? Many families with younger children will have to find new places for their sons and daughters to play in! Many dog owners will have to find new parks to bring their beloved pets to...I don't think I have EVER walked through that park and not seen at least 2 families spending time together in the beautiful open area.

If we were to tear it down what else do we have left? Are we going to start commuting that whole area of people to Spencer Smith park every time they want some fresh air and open space? Not only is this taking away our trees and fields but its making it less safe for children and animals. Think about all those young kids and pets who play in that park...any young child that doesn't know better could EASILY just end up walking out onto the street unknowingly. I know families that have outdoor cats who wander around the fields. I'm pretty sure they don't want to look out and see their cat darting through traffic. Pets are just as much loved as any other family member in many circumstances.

All in all I think that tearing down this school and this parkland to make way for a roadway is a TERRIBLE and wretched idea. I didn't like it from the start, and I never will like it. It would be a great disappointment to this city if this parkland was torn apart. The last thing we need is another small street that barely serves a purpose. If someone has a problem driving 1 minute around a corner to find another connecting street they should take some time and think about how ridiculous that sounds.

Thank You, Lori M.
Sanctuary

I'm a new member of Burlington Old-Timers' Soccer club and support the BOTSC Executive position on the issue of saving Brock. I attended the session at the Roseland tennis club and wish to thank the organizers for their professional work.

I also support Amy's concerns about some of the intangible aspects of having parkland available. What kind of life do we want to have for this and future generations? Suburbs like Burlington have already given pride of place to the car rather than to humans; hence, we have strip malls, wide 4 lane routes like Walker's Line and Guelph Line that seem like a fast moving highway some days (notwithstanding the reposted speed limits a few years ago) and commercial zones spread out to the periphery.

We have an inverted physical model compared with similarly dense European cities...their history resulted in high-streets and pedestrian ways where one meets neighbours and communicates with them. The cars are on the OUTSIDE. Why make suburbia worse by taking away a space suited to rich human interaction such as walking with another, playing with friends, and competing with comrades?

Final thought: The day of your Roseland meeting, we spotted a rabbit in our backyard...my girls ran to the window to see it and it was a wonderful start to our day. The park is home to others...we humans seem to have totally lost touch with the fact that we are co-habitants. We also seem to have lost touch with any sense of stewardship regarding our natural resources. Ok, so a suburban park isn't a fragile biosphere, but it's as close as some ever get .....surely there's value in the little inspiration that a quick view of a rabbit or fox will foster in visitors to this space.

Respectfully, David D.
City, Take a Stand!

I moved to Burlington from England back in 1988, I now and then lived in the Palmer community, I remember only 7 years back when there was a huge field and little farm houses on the walkers line side of Palmer, that was until it was gobbled up by hungry developers. I would hate to see the same happen to General Brock park.

I coach soccer for the Burlington Youth Soccer Club and I know that Brock is a huge deal to the soccer community in this city, both my sister and I scored our first goals in soccer at that field and now it is in danger from being paved over. If Burlington really gave a dam about south Burlington they would stop closing its schools and building houses on the land instead of leaving places for our community to be active and have fun!

Instead of removing the field and building over it, we should perhaps remove the school, make more soccer fields in its place along with baseball diamonds, tennis courts the works, we could do a lot to that park its big enough! This year my soccer team held its practices at W.E. Breckon, next soccer season we will have to find else were due to the fact it has already been bought up by people ready to build new homes there.

Burlington is running out of room very fast and perhaps our mayor should focus more on Burlington's Green space crisis instead of looking to fix up an already perfect Burlington Beach Front at Spencer Smith park. If I see one house go up on that field I will be horribly upset at this city for its lack of consideration towards its citizens!
 
Shawn W.
Stop Development - Keep our Wildlife

I have lived in Burlington for 11 years now and I am a resident of the Headon Forest Community. One thing i was always happy about living in the north of the city was that we had many forests surrounding our area. Lots of it has now disappeared; most noticeable is that of Walkers line where I can remember it was a huge meca of tree and other plant life, home to foxes, rabbits and deer. Now instead of trees and deer there are 5 to 6 story condo's and town houses popping up every 10 seconds it seems.

The loss of all this green space is hugely noticeable in the north (I am not sure about the south). Never out of the 11 years I lived here had I seen a wild rabbit in my area and now you can't barely go a day without seeing one or more, and the amount dead on the road is sadly more as well and why? Because all the foxes that lived in Burlington have left and now there are no animals to keep the rabbit population down and they end up going into our area messing up our yards and lying dead in our streets or they're trying to get to the escarpment north of the city.

Either way all this commotion must say were doing something wrong? Now that the North is filling up and getting so populated I can barely walk down the side of my house without hitting my elbows on the house next door. The city and developers' eyes are set back on the south where they will not only destroy plant life but mature trees that have been there probably long before Burlington was even thought up.

All in all I would like to say to our mayor please sir please do us a favour and let Brock remain the way it is where everyone can use it, and if you can't do that at least leave us the city of Burlington with one tree before they join the Tiger on the endangered list.

Mandy N.
Fight Fire with Fire

I grew up not far from General Brock and played ball, flew kites walked the dog, played British bulldog etc. in the park throughout my childhood. I read your article in the paper and I thought I would send you an a-mail with some suggestions. I have just finished fighting for a school to be built in my neighbourhood and I have been fighting for over a year. I went to every school board and City of Burlington meeting, prepared delegations and petitions and held frequent meetings with the neighbourhood to make sure this school that we were promised was going to be built. We won and the school will be under construction this summer and my children will be able to walk to and attend a neighbourhood school.

Through my experience in dealing with the Board and local Politicians you have to make your fight based on the communities wants and needs. The fact the City of Burlington is unable to accommodate all the children who wish to play soccer because of lack of soccer fields would be something I would research. I would get the numbers from the Burlington Soccer Association. I am pretty sure that only half of the 5 year olds that sign up are able to play and they do a lottery to decide who plays. Knowing that there is a lottery might stop people from signing up their children to play soccer because they cannot promise their child they would be able to play.

Baseball and football associations might be able to get you some numbers that you could use as well. Another angle would be to have a meeting with someone from the Planning department and find out how many homes could go into the area and how much green space must be available by law. With Ryerson on the closure list Tuck will be even more crowded then it already is.

I can't stress enough how important it is to find every angle as to how the community as a whole will benefit from leaving Brock as green space and not a new subdivision. Make sure you let as many people know when the meetings are at both the City and the Board. A large attendance at our meeting spoke volumes.

Visit the Halton Board of Education web site for the agendas to upcoming meetings they have a reputation of putting things in at the last minute in hopes that people will not see them. Good luck and if you need any help please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thanks, Allison McDade
Preserve, Preserve...

...It will be a tragedy if the city turns this central parkland into developed building area's. We in Burlington are so lucky to have space like General Brock for our recreational use right in the heart of the city. I have to say that when City councils act in this manner it makes me more than a little angry. It seems that money really does control everything. I look at Toronto and remember when one was walking down Yonge street many years ago one could view right out over the lake. No more of that, all one can see now is concrete.

I live North of the QEW but still drive to General Brock for my recreational uses. It is, for me, such a nice area to relax in and just meander around the fields there.

Roger K.
Thanks Committee Members

Hi! Thank-you for your involvement in the onerous task of trying to save General Brock. I live in the Roseland area and use this park often to play organized soccer and baseball. We also use this park just to bike around in and play in. I too, am tired of seeing green space in this city continuing to be paved and concreted over with development. I agree that our quality of life is diminishing here and we have to stop this future development before it's too late! Please put my name, my husband's name and my son's name on any petition you have started.

My big concern is how more development affects the neighbourhood schools? The overcrowding, more portables and less green space at the children's schools to play in bothers me. This possible development affects all of us in so many ways! Please keep me informed and thank-you again for all your efforts in this matter!

Kim B.
No to Building Permits

Thank you for your attempt to save the sports field at General Brock. It is indeed of vital importance to save these fields and block attempts to build more houses. There is enough building going on around us, look at Shell park, Upper Middle Rd to Highway 5 etc. We surely don't need any more, especially in the center core.

 The city would be wise to set much money aside for improving our roadways to adequately deal with the increase in traffic this building boom will cause. Of course, more buildings means more income (taxes) for the city but at what price? People will own nice homes which will take forever to get to and from (traffic congestion) and their kids have nowhere to practice and enjoy playing the sports they love.

The sports fields just aren't there or too far away necessitating driving them. More traffic on the roads. I believe we have reached the saturation point - or at least are very close to that - as far as new subdivisions is concerned and the city should seriously consider the consequences and put the brakes on issuing building permits.

I do hope you get enough reaction to the article in the Post to convince city council to take a serious second look at the General Brock property.

Sincerely, Henry H.
Everybody Must Take Action

We can't forget to discuss the impact the new development will have on the environment. What about the animals? My 2-year-old son met his first Raccoon at General Brock High School and many mornings we wake to watch the bunnies and foxes that live in the area. He has grown to love the outdoors for the amazing opportunity to watch frogs hop by and even a skunk slithering through the fields and spraying the neighbours dog. These animals need us and YOU to have a voice for them. Where will they go? They are being pushed out of the North and the West.

Let's preserve some green space for them and recognize the South End for what it has always been known and recognized for. An area with rich and mature trees and shrubbery. An oasis for those who want to escape properties situated so close if not attached to one another.

Remember once this parkland space is lost the animals will have no home and left to move, crossing dangerous and populated streets and losing their lives in the process. Once this parkland space is gone it can never be replaced! Please write to our councillor with your concerns.

Rebecca H
Convert Brock to a Sports Centre

I just read the article in the Burlington Post and I must advise you that the closing of Brock school - and it's accompanying sports fields was a topic of quite concern at our ladies soccer tournament in Stoney Creek this past weekend.

My family and I relocated to Burlington from London almost two years ago. I had grown up in Burlington and had almost forgotten how beautiful the city is. We live in the Headon Forest area and just love the city. Burlington is well known for being a family community with a focus on various activities throughout the city - it's not too far to drive from one end to the other for any event - it really fosters a larger sense of community when we drive to, for example, Brock to play soccer - it helps all of us Burlington citizens get to know each other from different ends of the city. I joined a ladies soccer team this spring and we often play on the fields at Brock. I can't imagine losing the soccer fields! The Burlington Ladies soccer league had already lost a lot of time on the fields at Ireland Park - not sure why - but understand it to be for some scheduling conflict (and the ladies league lost the battle) - obviously there is a strong need for soccer fields in the city of Burlington - and I strongly believe the need will only grow.

 My daughter used to have to go to a high school, Lord Elgin, for her cheerleading practices and then their team was at the mercy of Lord Elgin's schedule which seemed to be booked most weekends with one event or another. I wonder if it would be feasible to turn the Brock fields and school into a sports centre. The entire Brock area could be built up to be a first rate fitness/sports area. The school could house gyms, offices, a small sporting equipment store, the fields maintained and built up to be a first class arena for all sports.

I understand the city is developing our lake front to attract more business to our area - the south end, to my knowledge, does not have adequate sports centre/fields.
The trees and green space around Brock are gorgeous and so wonderful to have in the heart of a city - it'd be a terrible shame to see them paved over or even reduced in any way.

That is my suggestion, build up the entire field and building to focus on being a fitness/sports complex. I, for one, will be at the next residents meeting to support ANY suggestion that will maintain the beauty and functionality of Brock.

Sincerely, Kathy B.
Champlain gets Axe

I live in N. Burlington close to M.M.Robinson High School. Up until June 2002 in my area we had a functioning Elementary School called Champlain ,which was opened in the 70`s and my children attended. The Halton Board of Edu. decided that they needed to close Champlain, sold the land to a developer and the children are now bussed elsewhere.!! Parents protested etc to no avail and in the Spring of this year 2003, Champlain was torn down and a developer, Bucci is building 21 houses on the site.

We in this area have lost a great part of our green space, which was smaller than the site at G.B.!! I commend you for your efforts trying to preserve the green space surrounding G.B. and wish you good luck.

You will need to work hard getting the public to help, maybe you will be more fortunate than we were in convincing the Board to change its mind, I do hope so. Regards .P F. Back to top Make an Offer I note that the concern is that John T. Tuck school will become overcrowded. That wont' be the case, because the school board will just re-jig the boundaries again. But that gives you and your allies an opportunity to develop a broader base of support.

There are a lot of people who would be very incensed if they were suddenly cut out of the Tuck school area, and I would be pushing the idea that they should support your cause. There are many aspects to the redevelopment of this land that people don't immediately realize, but would be very upset about once they knew. Traffic patterns would change, should they put low-income housing in the demographics would change, is the current infrastructure (sewers, water, power, gas, etc.) up to the expanded load? What disruption would there be to increase the capacity?
 I totally agree that current resident backing on the park should have first dibs on purchasing back the property that was expropriated, and at inflation adjusted prices based on the prices paid when the property was expropriated, not current property values. My best wishes to you.

Ken W
PLEASE SAVE OUR GREEN SPACES - NO MORE HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

We're tired of watching all our green spaces and vacant lots being developed into more housing complexes. As more young families seem to be moving back into the Burlington south area, we need accessible park and play areas for the children. We need green spaces to keep our sanity. In this busy world, living in a concrete jungle certainly does nothing for the mind and spirit. We need the beauty of parks and playgrounds in our midst.

We live behind Trinity Christian School and are appalled to see yet another housing development on the rise. The City of Burlington has to be more conscious of environmental issues. We need more green spaces not more housing. Losing General Brock High School is a great detriment to Burlington. The students need to feel important and have their self-esteem met - placing them with Lord Elgin students to create Robert Bateman High School was a great error in judgment by the powers that be. Don't create another mistake by turning the park area into a housing development.

Judith & Robert Lehto
Inspiration

I am an artist and resident of the area, and am a frequent visitor of the school’s parkland. The green space is home to diverse wildlife, beautiful vegetation and superb sports fields for soccer and baseball. I have enjoyed this space that is an oasis of calm beauty and meditative serenity to inspire my art, and I have often played softball on the field with my BASA team.

It would sadden me to see this land be sold to developers to create another 3333 New street. I will have lost the place where I have spent so many years exploring, learning from and connecting with the land, and creating new friendships within my community sports team. I ask that this land be preserved so that future generations can take full advantage of this park.

Sincerely, Julie Buxton
Visual Artist

PLEASE DON'T CLOSE GENERAL BROCK

I started General Brock in 1996 at first I loved it then I moved to Hamilton and had to start Parkview High School. I did not want to graduate from there being a resident of Burlington all my life up to this point I felt I should go back and graduate from General Brock, so I did. I came in from Hamilton every day to go there and was happy in the end that I did. I can say I graduated from General Brock in Burlington!! And I made 5 years in hairdressing which will help me one day when I decide to pursue it. I also took auto mechanics (not a course all schools offer). I loved this course. No matter how hard the course was to you the teachers made sure to do everything in there power to help you understand everything and pass the courses. This school gave many, many different people opportunities to learn different ways and learn all sorts of things. People of all ages went to Brock. The teenagers attending school there, The adult learning program and even the kids in the parenting class day care.

Saying all this makes me feel very, very sad to see General Brock go. And for Building I also disagree with this very much. I saw my first school Fairfield go down but could kind of understand that but a school that helps so many people that is very sad.

Mel and Jesse
Don't break my heart

My name is Andrew Hewitt I am a past student of General Brock. I had learned the skilled trade of welding at Brock and value the education that this school has provided me with. I'm glad to see that the building is still in use for adult education. This piece of land has a lot of meaning to the residents of Burlington. Seeing it being sold to build more housing in this already crowded suburb would break my heart so I give you my support to maintain this landmark to better benefit this community thank you.

Andrew Hewitt age 17 student at Robert Bateman H.S.   

General Brock Public Meeting January 26, 2006
Written Public Comments:

  • We see no priority or rational for removing green space south of New Street. There are so few areas now neighbourhoods to walk our dog or allow our grandsons some space to play.

  • After attending January 26th the public open house, I have taken the opportunity to fill the comment sheet expressing my fears of the likely loss of the unique parkland on the General Brock Surplus School site.I n 1974 we have moved to the present address; this was part of the Kastelic development. Our backyard is bordering the present School Board property. This part of the land was expropriated from Reg & Viola Jones, our now deceased neighbours. The justification was for building another school on this site. Reg was allowed to continue limited farming since it became apparent that the second school would not be built. The Myers Lane Community was also native in closing the access from this street to the school property by elimination of the old "right of way" thus creating an exclusive area for various sports activities (see OMB hearing). In addition to the legal documents about Jones' expropriation, you may obtain a more personal view from Jones' living daughter; I am in the 86th of year of my age, one could conclude that my view on the problem are less influenced by my interest for not suddenly looking at high density buildings, but much more about a health environment for development of much younger generation of Burlingtonian's. In this belief I hope that the administration of the community is having a long rage plan: 1. For not destroying what is already available, or for reducing to the minimum area 2. To circumvent this quote high price for the property, I think it should be possible to budget yearly amounts of the money. This I understand was thus far, not practiced 3. Since the "Save General Brock Parklands" organization has no power to actively engage the "City", the "School Board" or the "Provincial Government", the onus is falling on the management of the "City", which should proudly take this challenge for the benefit of the whole community.

  • I am surprised that "MAC" would not consider the location of the surplus school property. The apparent promotion of a downtown location deserves a more detailed presentation to the citizens of Burlington.

  • In a recent study new asthmas cases have increased 4 times and it is attributed to poor air quality. Trees give us oxygen (clean air), absorb Co2, shades for a picnic, beautify all seasons & stress release as we take a walk with nature. Especially with the population rising, it makes it all the more vital for Burlington to have a serene, green space with trees to escape to from the hectic pace of concrete and crowds. As if these weren't enough reasons, no price tag can buy a healthy planet (atmosphere). Developing even part of the property would be a mistake that would last forever. Do the right thing and preserve it. If there is a will there is a way.

  • Please leave us Brock Park! Our only green spaces or parks are school properties. As they close schools, there go our green spaces, and once gone, they are gone forever. People need these parks too preserve the effects of living in this hectic rat race of Southern Ontario (GTA).

  • In Northern Burlington open space and parks can be planned for and set aside. In the south, the only open space seems to be around the school, which is owned by the School Boards. Their objectives are to fund new school in the north and does not include park. The new developments have areas allocated but the south has no areas set aside for green space, so everything has to be bought - when it is all developed in the south, what then? It takes many years to grow a green space and a few days for a developer to remove it.

  • As a member of Burlington Sport Alliances I am concerned about loss of field and diamonds, green space for activity; organized as well as free time use. We need more not less in Burlington to promote healthy active living. This must be a priority for a smart City.

  • I strongly support the work of the "Save General Brock committee" to preserve as much green space as possible.

  • We must save as much green space as possible here in the fast growing Burlington. Please do not allow Johnston Drive to become a through street .As this property was paid for from our school taxes, please preserve our green space and sports fields

  • No new development in Brock Park. Borrow $8M from bank and repay over 30 years if School Board fails to respond. Mortgage should be quite manageable. This saving the Parkland is very important. Don't destroy this City because of greed. This is a classy City dont not make it a blue-collar town. Public green space is important, essential for every single individual living in our City. Without General Brock Parkland, members of our neighbourhood have very little useable green areas. Future generations depend on our wisdom now.

  • "in-fill" & "densification" appears to be happening on an opportunistic basis. We have seen 'green space" losses due to school closures in the past in our community (Laurie Smith/Strathcona). We have also lost the 'green" portion of Central Park to parking lots for the Rotary Centre & Library. To lose Brock Parkland will surely diminish the Community's quality of life. Let's save this space for future generations. Keep green space. How is General Brock land presently slated in new City land use plan?

  • Green Space is important to preserve Environmental issues should by now be at a top priority. No development in the middle of this area. We are losing our green spaces very quickly; housing is dense enough as it is. We have very little park space in south Burlington. Every little price of property is being filled up with housing. Time for City to start saving our green spaces once gone, you don't get them back.

  • Keep as a school site, and maintain parkland. I thought McMaster wanted to establish a Burlington Campus?

  • We have lost too much park space south of the QEW. That is why it is so important to keep this park, instead of the major on park as Kerns Road, what a bad location?

  • Personally, I use the Brock parkland many time each week throughout the year. My children (when youn)g enjoyed the soccer field as well. Hopefully a significant amount of property will be retained as a community we will also be willing to ensure this. We need green space in this neighbourhood not more high-density housing.

  • The Park land is desperately needed, as tow play soccer here; my kids are now in Burlington Youth Soccer. We moved from the north because it is different, we don't want the north replicated.

  • As our City grows and infill becomes more common, I feel the City would be very short sighted to lose any or all of the Brock site. It is established and doesn't need developing.  I would prefer that no additional homes would be built on this property. The only way that this can be achieved would be to develop the property as some form of institution (i.e. a campus)

  • Very informative meeting-I am very concerned about he mental and physical health of the residences, especially children, if there is no green space available. Appreciated Cam Jackson's update.

  • I think they should make an entertainment park for family to go for the day and activities like swimming, biking, skatepark, and playground.

  • Park land need, keep green space in the City

  • First choice-leave property as is and find a use for the building. 2nd choice, maintain playing fields and if necessary, build only on existing building site, over the years, schools are closing in the south and being built in the north. The south is becoming a "have not" area. This is very short-sighted-Green space in the south must be protected. The residents of Burlington need more open space/parkland. This parcel of land has already been zoned "residential". How often in a history has such a zoning designation become changed to open space parkland?

  • We have a young family, we run, walk ride and live at Brock Park. This is our quality of lie that will be impact upon. It would be hard to articulate to my children why "their space" could be lost.

  • It is critical that the open space be maintained. It is so important o the community.

  • First-terrible pen and nothing to write on. Great work! Brock's site has parking for the present building and soccer/recreational fields. I think ever effort should be made to keep that profile for its value to the City and its people.
    Any development should be geared toward senior low-rise housing geared to in home . Environmental concerns require a major focus, as surrounding trees age a planned progressive planting surface for the area is required. "trees are our lungs". Compliment to Committee and City on a very responsible approach.

  • Save the Parkland

  • Community Park, some single family development, no through traffic to Johnston Drive

  • Let's keep the open space for kids. Soccer/Baseball/Football are good for kids. Don't take away their place to play.

  • Please come up with some innovative ideas, capital money. Why does Burlington Planning have "lets turn the parkland into houses, condo's, etc." as their only agenda? Keep our "open space" open. We have too little parkland as it is. City should be prepared to act a purchaser or last resort of any lands surplus to the Board of Education, in order to preserve the parkland that currently exists, especially in view of the loss of parkland in this area from the sale of other elementary schools (Laurie Smith & Strathcona). Do not sell to a developer, keep it as it is. i.e. peaceful place for kids and adults

  • Excellent turn out by residents, and staff of City and Board of Education. The client showing schools closed percentage of parkland remaining was skewed, because it did not include Laurie Smith & Strathcona schools. (both closed I 1987). I have lived in Burlington since 1974-raised a family, walked dogs and volunteered for many years, all of it made worthwhile by the quality of life I Burlington. Please continue to make it worthwhile, conserve green space. With the current rate of growth in Burlington, it is obvious that parkland, playing field space is at a premium. It seems very shortsighted to give up this space, knowing that the cost to replace it in the future will greatly exceed the money to be gained today. I feel it's important to maintain the integrity of the current land use. Please maintain the current or increased amount of green space. You can't build or make new land, please stop the growth.

  • Keep Johnson a dead-end. Keep the parkland. We have paid for it. This is Roseland/Upper Roseland's only parkland choice. Get creative.

  • Save the green space, no more houses.

  • Keep all existing open space within the City of Burlington. Once we allow development to pursue our existing open spaces, they will be lost 'forever".

  • Find a creative way to pay for it.

  • Lip service provided by Council, 16% parkland preservation is ridiculous! South Burlington is already a victim of developers, building new house on every available lot, constructing monster houses where modest homes once stood. If the character of south Burlington is to be retained, we need to conserve the small amount of green space we have. We need playing fields, playground area, public washrooms a parking area, a place to walk dogs in a well-lit area. It is important for quality of life to keep open parkland and sport fields. We not need the money raised by the selling of this land. Do not sell the parkland.

  • Wellington Square Public School closed with no parkland as well as 24+ years ago. Once the parkland is gone, it can never be returned. Please maintain some green space in the south of Burlington. Don't make Burlington another Missisauga; we live here for a reason.

  • We need the site for a "real" Catholic High School for our southern region. Look at the other schools in Burlington, Assumption is too small.

  • The City must ensure that this parkland is obtained for the future use of the residents. We should never have houses built on this land.

  • Thanks for your participation; we need more financial scenarios for our consideration.  What are the next steps? How communicated to stakeholders. Great job by Jack Dennison, good open forum.

  • It is a shame that when we need parks for our children to play in that we would let an area such as the Brock Parks for housing development. Are our priorities tied up in getting more tax dollars or in the physical welfare of our children?

  • Open space, very important, used by all local children, adolescent, parents, dogs. If we take away land for our children to play, biggest health problem in Canada is childhood obesity is encouraged. No park of this size with the number of fields exists in south Burlington. Have already closed 4 schools in south with extreme loss of open space. Environmental concerns with creek running through it?
  • We are concerned about the traffic. It's very important to have green space, not more density. I agree, that Burlington is full! Please try to be creative and save more than 16% parkland.

  • Good representation of all level and fair answers.
  • We paid for this property with our school taxes; this park area must be preserved in total.

  • It's too sad and very sad that north Burlington gets all the parks and the 30years plus residents of south Burlington are left with minimum percentage of green space. Tuck is bursting at the seams, maybe they can look to Brock instead of adding more troublesome) portables. More housing built, more hydro needed. We already a problem with that, why add to it?

  • top spending money on "grand" project such as the Lakefront Project, etc, and think of the real needs of the community and keep the quality of life we enjoy in Burlington (such as space, clean air (thanks to trees), wild life, etc.

  • Dead end streets are contributing to having a better quality of life by reducing traffic. Please keep Johnston drive a dead end street.
  • New housing belong in the new area only. Parkland was never intended to be house lots in waiting. Why does a school board have the say in how lands provided to them through City Plan get to determine the land's fate when they no longer have use of the land for it's intended purpose?

  • This was an extremely valuable meeting, it is critical for the community be involved clearly all representatives that presented tonight need to come together on common ground to save this common ground. I did not see an image tonight of the representatives coming together, the surprises presented between the groups showed that!

  • The property, currently owned by the Public School Board, is also owned by the public and is not for sale. It is to be used for purposes as presently gained a school (s) and park It is a bad idea to sell any land for development and lose the parkland. The quality of life. ??

  • I live behind the building in Maranatha homes. We enjoy the open space, beautiful nature, trees, and its great to see for many to enjoy a variety of sports

  • I want more information about the School Board with their plans, about building new schools in this area.

  • I am very upset with the City's decision to sell off the land in the General Brock school site.I have lived in this area for 19 yrs. And have over the years used this park to walk dogs, participate in soccer games, bicycle with my children, picnic with them, climb trees, and just get away from it all. We have seen the tree farm area grow from small trees only a couple of feet tall to full sized trees. We used to rip away the long grass around the blue spruce so that they could continue to grow. I honestly feel as if this area is an extension of my own backyard. When I developed ulcerative colitis about 6 yrs ago it became my goal to make it to Brock and eventually be able to walk around the track again. I accomplished that goal and walk twice daily around the track or just around the school. We have dogs that need to be walked on a daily basis and without this park we will honestly reconsider living in the Burlington area. Dogs are a big part of this area, many families have committed to dog ownership, but dogs also need to run and play without the confines of a leash, and we were hoping that we could renegotiate with the City, to have times during the day when dogs could be let off leash legally. There are always people at the park walking dogs, at all times of the day and night, and all seem to be well behaved and friendly. This is a very important role of the park; it keeps dogs and owners happy because it is such a large area no one is ever in another person's space unless they want to be. We can seek out company or be solitary. Not like the other parks in the area where there is such overcrowding people with dogs give up trying to use them. I truly believe that open space is very important to all people in a neighbourhood, whether they are sports enthusiasts, regular walkers or occasional users, it gives everyone a chance to relax and therefore allows a more harmonious relationship between neighbours. Since we are able to walk our dogs at Brock our dogs don't have a need to be in our backyard by themselves to relieve their energy, which means they are not outside barking and disturbing everyone. This park is invaluable to our community I can't tell you how much I would miss that park if it were no longer available, I would be heartbroken, as would many others. When I was at the park the morning after the meeting I noticed a large silver Mercedes coming into the park as I was getting ready to leave. I waited to see where the car was going, It took a very slow route around the whole school parking area, and the man and his wife were pointing and gesturing about various features of the park, I am thinking this was probably a developer checking it out. We also noted that sometime early last week someone ripped down the sign to "Save Brock Park" that had been duct taped to the fence at the entrance to the park, and while it could have been teenagers, I have my doubts, there are hardly ever teens hanging around that area.I have not come up with any new ideas about how the park could be saved, but I would be willing to help fund raise or pay user fees or whatever it takes to keep this park going.By the way, does anyone know why the Catholic schools in the area cannot just expand instead of building new schools, is there really that much demand for a whole new school? What's behind that? Let me know if you need help.

First I would like to congratulate the members of Council for their responsible answers to the many questions that were asked of them at the meeting last Thursday evening. This being said I was disappointed (that this being billed as a public open meeting) there was little representation from the people that are interested in developing this property. I realize that a final decision now looks like it has been deferred for another couple of years but at some point a decision will have to be made and something done with this area. It is a valuable piece of property and if it is not properly utilized the school board is going to have to continue to subsidize and maintain it with funds that could certainly be better spent elsewhere. It is unfortunate that the longer it takes to make a decision on this the more expensive it is going to be to develop it. I must admit that I have not been very involved in this issue even though I live within a block of the area but from what I can see looking at their website the "Save the General Brock Parklands Committee" comprises mainly of residents whose homes back unto the property (and they probably do not want to lose their dog runs) or they live on Johnston Street and do not want their street potentially opened to through traffic (this was one of the questions at the meeting). I have little sympathy for the gentleman that asked this question because all he had to do was stand at the end of the street before he bought the property and he certainly see that the possibility could exist at some time for this to happen. This is much like the people who buy residential property (that is usually discounted because of this) close to an airport and then complain later about the noise as the airport grows. The point made re all the trees being cut down (most are around the outside of the property anyway and could probably be saved) and the bunny rabbits leaving the area is pure nonsense and I hope the residents in the area can see this. In addition the traffic issue is just a scare tactic and if the new housing is planned properly the people moving into this area will not be creating a bee line for the QEW every morning but instead will probably be retired and sitting in their kitchens and/or backyards having a cup of coffee. My feeling is that to make the best decision we all need to get a clear view of what all the alternatives are, and to do this we need to hear from the people that have plans to develop the property. There is enough land in this parcel that I would be very surprised if a reasonable compromise cannot not be worked out that gives each side a portion of what they are looking for. I think everyone is supportive of retaining a soccer field and/or some reasonable green space, which would still leave ample room to build additional housing that could take advantage of the land available and broaden the tax base in this area. Mid to higher priced executive single and/or town homes similar to the development just developed off Caroline Street east of the Wellington Square United Church parking lot will solve the committee's concerns about more children (and the need for more portables or classrooms) in the area because the majority of people looking for and investing in this type of property have already had their families, and like my wife and I, can assure you will not be starting this process over again.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully some good judgment and common sense will prevail. I do hope that City counsel will not bow to pressure from a small special interest group that in my opinion is out to do nothing more than protect their own interests. I cannot speak for each of my neighbours but in discussions with many of them they all agree with me on this.


"To have a future you need to invest in it, you need to compliment it, not take away from it."

(public opinions page)