Thursday, December 18, 2008

Meet the would be neighbours night

The principal and staff of the Pacific Coast School hosted an information session this week, hoping to provide more background on their plans and the detail that the School District has gone to in its plans for the new school for the community.

It was a timely gathering at the Penthouse of the Rupert Hotel (seemingly Prince Rupert's destination for important meetings of late) as the controversy over a denied rezoning application continues to percolate in the community.

At this week's meeting supporters and opponents both expressed their opinions on the merits or lack of same for the Cow Bay location, with the two major opponents from Broadwater Industries and Certified Welding holding their ground on their reluctance to see the school in their end of the light industrial area.

While the regular citizens and main participants in the ongoing discussion were able to make it, representation from the City of Prince Rupert was lacking as the city's councillors were away in Terrace for some kind of local government seminar.

However, perhaps they can glean from the discussion this week is that there is a need for the city to revisit the issue, perhaps holding their own open discussion to base a decision on facts as presented by both sides of the issue.

Wednesday's Daily News outlined the details of the most recent talking points on the city's hot button issue of the month.

Cow Bay school's supporters explain the vision
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Page one

Yet again, locals voiced both their concerns and appreciation of the work done by School District 52 over the proposed Pacific Coast School on First Avenue.

The meeting took place in the Coast Hotel penthouse with PCS principal Steve Riley and teachers Miguel Borges and Doug Brown explaining their rational for the school and its location.

"The priority is for social-emotional learning and the goal is engagement and attachment," said Riley who wanted those in attendance to understand that a school would work on First Avenue if it is given the chance.

There were many locals in attendance, including North Coast MLA Gary Coons, school board trustees, and a member of the RCMP.

City councillors were missing from the event because they were away in Terrace to attend their local government seminars but when they were invited they told Riley that they would have been if they could have made it.

The meeting was at times very emotional as Doug Mackereth and Neil Forman both reiterated their opposition to the proposed Cow Bay location.

"I think this whole thing was pushed under the table and it was tried to be snuck in," said Forman.

But Riley disputed that claim and said this was what the forum was all about, to let those who opposed the project voice their concerns and, in return, to inform them of why they shouldn't be worried.

"We wanted to show that because we didn't want anyone to believe that we have pulled this out of thin air," said Riley.

Right now, the school district will not be pinned down to detailing which exact sites they are looking at, nor would it say whether or not it will be reattempting to locate itself on First Avenue following the decision by council to deny a rezoning application for the site. All Riley would say at this point was that the district has a number of sites and that it was assessing its options.

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