The trustees support the expropriation of land for the region’s primary school


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Trustees of the Thames Valley District School Board gave their stamp of approval on Tuesday to begin the process of expropriating land from a “reluctant” developer in Belmont.

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The site, on Concession 7 in Central Elgin, is part of the sixth phase of the Craigholme Estate development and will be used as the site for a new elementary school.

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Geoff Vogt, superintendent of facilities services and capital planning, said the council had ‘overlooked nothing’ as it tried to strike a deal to buy the land.

“Management feels like they made every effort to achieve a friendly sale with this developer,” Vogt said. “We made many attempts and put many hours of work into it.”

Board chair Lori-Ann Pizzolato said the expropriation process will begin “that doesn’t mean you can’t come to an agreement at some point.”

The $8.7 million facility will accommodate more than 350 children, including all students at South Dorchester Primary School, as well as parts of the school attendance areas of Northdale Central, River Heights, Westminster Central and Davenport.

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The Central Elgin site will be acquired under the Expropriation Act and funded under the Department of Education’s Land Priorities Programme.

Acquisition of land for the school has already been approved by the ministry, according to a staff report co-authored by the school board’s associate principal, Jeff Pratt.

In June 2020, the Department of Education approved the long-awaited Belmont School the board had hoped to open for the 2023–24 school year. He will not meet this deadline, as the council expects to be in possession of the land in six to 12 months.

A representative for Craigholme Estates did not return a request for comment.

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