The York Region District Separate School Board Trustee, Elizabeth Crowe delegated to Council a couple of weeks ago. The Board were being required to pay Cash In Lieu of Parkland levy in the
amount of $414,000 . before they could receive their building permit for the new district high school on Wellington Street. Ms Crow asked for relief from the requirement.
The trustee pointed out the Board's past co-operation with the town in the use of their facilities. The new school would have substantial sports and other facilities to share. The land would only be 40% occupied by school facilities. If the Town required parkland, the Board would willingly dedicate same.
The Town said "No". The Province says "NO". The Director of Leisure Services said he would rather have the money. The Mayor said, "We need the money to buy land for baseball diamonds."
Councillor Gaertner said ."School Boards don't pay taxes."
. I heard nothing from anyone to convince me the request was not valid. I voted against the motion to deny.
The Board does share facilities willingly. The Town is very glad to have access to them.
We have reserve funds which have been collected to purchase land for baseball diamonds and have steadfastly refused to use it for that purpose.
We could add land to the Arboretum being developed by the town.A creek would be a definite asset.
Boards of Education do not pay taxes. They collect taxes. Schools users pay taxes to the Town the Region and the School Boards. How many times more should they pay ?
At the time York Region District Public School Board was contemplating closure of Dr. G.W.Williams High School, the economic advantage of the school in that location was made much of by Aurora Council when they were preparing to mount the bastions and declare war on the board on behalf of school users and surrounding businesses. Councillor Gaertner did not make any reference then that they do not pay taxes.
But perhaps the biggest shell game of all is the Provincial regulation that requires a fee on top of a building permit, for Cash in Lieu of Parkland.
When they built their new additionCanadian Tire did not create a need for parkland . Neither did State Farm Insurance . Nor Wall-Mart.. None of them created anything but assessment wealth for politicians to squander. All were required to make a cash payment in lieu of parkland.
York Region District Separate School Board provides sports facilities and other amenities paid for by separate school supporters and willingly shares with the community at large. They have not created a need for a park.
The payment required by the Town must be charged to new home owners.These future residents will also pay the town's and the region's development levy and for parks to meet their needs in the price of their new homes.
How then can a cash payment in Lieu of Parkland be legitimately collected. Just because we have the power to do it, doesn't make it right. In my judgement , it is legalised thievery.