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EXCLUSIVE: Parents upset over TDSB’s $1M deal with condo builder

Parents at Lord Lansdowne Public School are upset the Toronto District School Board walked away from a fight over a proposed condo tower in exchange for $1 million from the developer to build a new playground.

That playground could soon lie in the shadow of a 22-storey building if the developer is allowed to build on the site of the Waverly Hotel and the Silver Dollar Room at College Street and Spadina Avenue.

“The impact of the shadow on the schoolyard is going to be enormous,” said parent and school council member Amy Furness.

“All morning our schoolyard is going to be cast into shadow by this thing.”

The city and the TDSB were going to try and stop the development at an Ontario Municipal Board hearing later this month, but parents at Lord Lansdowne were surprised to learn this week that the board had settled with the builder without consulting them.

The board said it wanted to go back to the community, but was asked to make a decision quickly. It also said it didn’t make sense to pay the high legal costs to fight the development or to pursue the issue through the OMB, where it would be compensated no more than $400,000.

“We have to be responsible in how we spend our money,” said school trustee Briony Glassco.

“Why are you going to spend all that money to fight something that everybody tells you you’re going to lose?”

She said it’s not the first time schools have sold shadow rights — citing the $2 million paid to Jesse Ketchum Public School for the Four Seasons project — but added the TDSB would like to work out a protocol with the city to better resolve these issues.

Meanwhile, Coun. Ceta Ramkhalawansingh said the city is still going to try to prevent the proposed condo.

“It’s too tall,” she said.

“The city’s position is this should be mid-rise. There are also heritage issues involved because the Waverly and Silver Dollar are part of the site.”

The OMB hearing on the proposed development begins Nov. 24.