Brockington Sold Old Bayview School Once, Will He Get To Sell It Again?
Riley Brockington is running for Ottawa City Council in River Ward (Ward 16). Brockington is the former school board trustee that included this ward from 2003 - 2010. Being councillor for River is something he has probably always aspired to become.
Brockington is a longtime resident and knows the ward very well.
An interesting note about Brockington's stint on the school board. When he was a trustee and chair of the budget committee in 2007, he oversaw the closure and sale of the old Bayview School located across from Mooney's Bay on Riverside Drive near Walkley Rd. That was a controversial issue in of itself as many Mooney's Bay and Hunt Club residents opposed the school's closure. But compounding the issue was the school board sold the school and its land to the City of Ottawa under the regulations of the Education Act that gave the City priority status in acquiring surplus school board land and buildings. The City shelled out just over $8 million for this land.
Since the acquisition, under the guidance of the departing councillor, Maria McRae, and contrary to the original plan of "retaining public sites for public use", the Bayview School land development options have gone through a number of iterations as to how the land would be parceled and now sold to developers with only a small portion being retained for public use. To date, nothing has been finalized with regards to this prime real estate but as fate will have it, the responsibility will fall under the guidance of the next councillor for River Ward. If Brockington were to win the election, he will become the person responsible for selling the land twice.
Here is where the issue could become troublesome for me as a voter and Brockington as councillor. I still don’t know why the city paid $8 million for land that it will eventually sell. The City is not in the land speculation business and they have full zoning control over what could be built on the land. I have asked the departing councillor this question in the past but never really received a satisfactory answer. I recently asked Mr. Brockington for information about the Bayview School sale and he has not responded to me (in fact, he has not responded to any of my emails or tweets and he has blocked me from his twitter feed). So here are the questions I think need to be answered on this issue specifically by Mr. Brockington given his ties to the issue:
Who are the developers that are in line to buy any of the land parcels up for sale on the Bayview School site?
How many of them have contributed to the Riley Brockington campaign (Brockington is one of two candidates in the ward accepting corporate contributions)?
Has the outgoing councillor, Maria McRae, endorsed you to succeed her and if so, have you two discussed this Bayview School land plans?
You once said you agreed the land should be retained for public use. A sports facility and library were suggestions put forth by local residents. Will you still push for this as opposed to residential development?
These are important issues that should be answered before voters, especially those voters in surrounding neighbourhoods, vote for their next councillor.
UPDATE: A previous version of this post stated that Brockington may have moved out of the ward for some period of time. It has been confirmed to me that he did not do so and has always lived in the ward even though he did move a couple of time.