Wednesday, May 7, 2014

MORE DELAYS FOR NEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Another Spring and not a sign of construction of our new school at the Middleton Street location. 

To say the community is disparaged would be an understatement. So many starts and sputters makes for lots of skeptics. Readers of P&P know that the issue has been a personal crusade with me for the past ten years. As the flag bearer for the project, I get skepticism from all sides.

I remain convinced that the project is going ahead but the delays are simply unacceptable. 

Knowing the start of the new school is just a tender call away after loosing the entire construction season in 2013 is growing more frustrating.  

We are into the second week of May and as of today the tender for the pre-construction work has not even been issued. At this rate, I am wondering if we will lose yet another construction season.

Site development & remediation for the new Virginia Park Elementary was tendered last Fall, but work was halted because the cost associated with the  remediation was larger than anticipated.  We have been waiting for the work to begin ever since. 

The hold-up appears to be with the Transportation and Works, the department responsible for approving the proposed work and issuing the tenders. 

Why it is taking so long to do something that is years overdue is perplexing. For the second year in a row the Provincial Budget Speech noted that government is providing fund for ongoing new school projects including  Virginia Park Elementary. It is time for the rubber to hit the road.

The latest word is that the tenders will be issued in the middle of May. You will have to excuse me for not getting excited about that.

First of all, this means more delays. Most likely the tender will not close until the end of the school year which means shovels will not be in the ground until mid-July at the earliest. After all of the studies, announcements, budget lines and commitments we are guaranteed to have lost another three months of construction time. 

Secondly, this does not account for other delays, like tender extensions.

On the positive side, the remediation, excavation, grubbing will be done during a period when the current school is closed resulting in less congestion and conflict with the school population.

This means  a new school would open at the earliest in early 2017! 

In the meantime, the students at Virginia Park continue to attend a school that the government's own consultants said in 2006 failed to meet the standards of a third world country.

It is tough to keep the faith.







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