HWDSB has moved to an electronic system of accepting bids on our surplus/vacant sites. Read our previous blog post to learn what prospective purchasers need to know when placing online bid submissions through the bids&tenders platform.
In addition to receiving funding from the Ministry of Education, the Board must rely upon the revenue generated from the sale of surplus property as an alternative funding option.
School Boards and school authorities in the Province of Ontario are governed by O. Reg. 444/98 under the Ministry of Education Act when divesting of real property assets. (See Holding Properties that will not undergo this process.)
Under the Board’s Property Disposition Procedure, HWDSB provides a public information session for interested parties within the local community as part of the two-phased property disposition process. This service is not a requirement under O. Reg. 444/98.
On September 1, 2016, the Ministry of Education implemented amendments to Ontario Regulation 444/98 – Disposition of Surplus Real Property.
The following key amendments are applicable to HWDSB.
- Expanded the List of Preferred Agencies for circulation notices;
- Extension of circulation timelines from 90-days to 180-days. Preferred Agencies now have an additional 90-days to consider a sale proposal.
- first 90-days – to submit an expression of interest (EOI) in the property being circulated, and;
- second 90-days – to submit a compliant offer;
- Offer must be at fair market value, including all board-to-board sales ;
- A Regulated prescribed lease rate will be charged when a school board leases a building or part of a building to another district school board.
- A school board with a leasehold interest in the surplus school property being circulated will have the highest priority ranking of all listed Preferred Agencies.
The purpose of the Board’s Property Disposition Procedure is to ensure when the Board is divesting of real property assets that the following is adhered to during the two phases of the property disposition process.
- Trustee fiduciary responsibility and effective public sector governance is clearly demonstrated;
- The Board is in compliance with all Legislative and Regulatory requirements as identified in O. Reg. 444/98;
- Directions and decision are clearly articulated in a timely fashion to the Preferred Agencies and the Community, and;
- Communication is transparent and timely.
Section 1 - Phase 1 - Properties in Disposition – Circulation of Surplus Properties-
There are two phases in the property disposition process. The initiation of each phase requires separate Board approval.
Phase 1 of the disposition process may be engaged only after the Board of Trustees have adopted a resolution that declares the property surplus to the Board’s needs and authorizes administration to proceed with the disposition of the surplus property in accordance with Ontario Regulation 444/98.
Phase 1 – Engage O. Reg. 444/98 – Circulate Proposal to Preferred Agencies (180-day period)
- The Board issues a proposal to sell, lease or dispose of real property to the Preferred Agencies;
- Circulation period to Preferred Agencies is a 180-day process;
- Preferred Agencies have first 90-days to submit an expression of interest (EOI) and an additional
- 90-days to submit a bona fide offer;
- HWDSB administration holds a public information session within the first 60 days of the 180-day circulation period to inform the local community of the Board’s intent and disposition process;
- If no bona fide offer is received at the conclusion of the 180-day period, then Ministry and Board approval is required before proceeding to Phase 2 in the disposition process.
The following properties have been declared surplus and are either in, or have completed Phase 1 of the disposition process.
- None at this time
Section 2 - Phase 2 - Properties in Disposition - Sale to Others
Phase 2 of the disposition process; selling of surplus property on the open market at “Fair Market Value”, may be engaged only after the Board has provided satisfactory evidence to the Minister of Education that due process has been followed, that is, if:
- No expression of interest was received during the initial first 90-day period; or
- No offers were received during the second 90-day period; or
- No offers could be agreed upon.
Phase 2 – Sale of Property – Open Market – (3 year window from 180-day circulation expiry date)
Subject to having received Ministry and Board approval to dispose of surplus property to others at “Fair Market Value”, the Board will be in a position, with the direction of Administration to dispose of the surplus property by way of:
- Public tendering bid process (opening of tenders closed to the public);
- Receive Offers to Purchase;
- Publicly advertise and negotiate a sale;
- Engage consultants and professional firms to sell on behalf of the Board;
- Transact with an individual purchaser (single source purchaser), when dealing with a unique set of land or development circumstances.
Details regarding the sale of Board property is confidential and cannot be released to the public until the sales transaction has closed and title of ownership has been transferred.
Properties for Sale
Section 3 - Sold Properties
The following is a list of Board properties sold since amalgamation (1998) to present date.
- HWDSB Properties Sold (updated January 2023)
Section 4 - Vacant Properties
The following is an inventory of vacant sites owned by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School.
- HWDSB Areas for Vacant Lands and Parking Areas (updated November 2022)
The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board owns vacant sites around the City of Hamilton. These may be used as future school locations or be sold at a later date.
We heard the Board acquired sites for $1 from the City. Is that true?
Until the mid-1970s, the legal requirement of land transactions was different than they are now. At that time, the legal standard was to place a nominal amount, such as $1, in the deed. This was required to make the transaction legal. This was not the amount paid to acquire the property. The actual amount paid for the property was included in the Land Transfer Tax affidavit and reflected the “market value” at that time.
Why can’t the Board sell the land back to the City for $1?
School boards are bound by Ontario Regulation 444/98 to sell properties at “Fair Market Value”. In addition to receiving funding from the Ministry, revenue generated from the sale of a property provides an alternative funding option.
What is Ontario Regulation 444/98?
Under the Ontario Education Act, Ontario Regulation 444/98 (“Ont. Reg. 444/98 or O.Reg.444/98”) governs the manner in which school boards and school authorities in the Province are able to divest real property assets.
How can we ensure that the vacant land is kept in our community for our recreational use?
The Board’s Property Disposition Procedure for Policy 3.12 ensures that our partners and the community are made aware of surplus lands for sale by the Board. The Board’s public information session provides sufficient time for stakeholders to work with their community partners to decide on what is the best use of the land for their neighbourhood. The Community can work with their City Councillor if they want the lands to be used for parkland or open green space. The City, as a preferred agent, would need to submit a bona fide offer.
Who should we talk to about keeping vacant lands in our community?
The City has the opportunity as a preferred agent to submit an offer to acquire any property deemed surplus to the Board’s needs once it is circulated to the Preferred Agencies provided, no agencies with priority ranking have submitted an acceptable offer. Stakeholders are encouraged to speak to their local councillor about any surplus lands in their community.
How do you know HWDSB won't need the site in 20 years?
The Board’s Capital Plan is reviewed on an annual basis and is assessed against updated enrolment projections, demographic information and Ministry direction. Strategies, such as boundary modification, program realignment and other interim accommodations can be implemented to address capacity issues. Projections indicate none of our surplus lands will be needed to address the long-term accommodation of HWDSB