HWDSB’s plans for Crestwood site to be revealed Wednesday
By Gord Bowes, News staff
The trustee for the area says school board staff is getting ahead of itself with plans for its new headquarters that elected officials haven’t even seen yet.
The councillor for the area wants to make sure traffic is kept out of the residential neighbourhood.
The public will have its first chance to see what’s planned for the Crestwood site on Wednesday.
“The part that bothers me — I think we should have had a town hall meeting prior to this (open house),” said Lillian Orban, the trustee for Ward 7 (central Mountain), who had pushed for community consultation prior to the developing plans.
“It appears as if (the board is saying) ‘It’s our school, it’s our land, we can do what we want with it,’ rather than ‘Let’s look at the public’s input.’ ”
The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board is in the midst of selling its downtown headquarters to McMaster University, which plans to build a health centre at the 100 Main St. West site.
While temporary office space for board staff needs to be found — it’s a sticking point of the current sale negotiations — the new headquarters is expected to open in 2014 where Crestwood school now stands on Millwood Place, just west of Upper Wentworth in the neighbourhood commonly known as Birdland.
Board staff said in December preliminary designs for the $31.6-million headquarters call for a 2.5-storey, 113,500-square-foot building.
“I have not seen the plans. None of us have,” Orban said when asked what details the public can expect to see at Wednesday’s open house. “I’ll see it for the first time on Wednesday.
“The structure of the building should fit into the community itself. We don’t want a gigantic building with the houses being half the size. The building has to be community friendly.”
Ward 7 (central Mountain) Coun. Scott Duvall said he has concerns about increased traffic in the residential area.
The board has said about 470 employees will work at the new headquarters, but a number of those workers will only use it as a home base as they travel to other work locations.
Duvall said he wants Fieldway Drive, which is currently dead-ended off Upper Wentworth, to be opened up so all traffic passes through the main artery.
“I’ll certainly be working with our planners to make sure that happens,” he said.
The open house is being held Jan. 25 at Crestwood, 50 Millwood Place, from 4-7:30 p.m.
Public input will be accepted on the board’s website.