Sunday, May 15, 2011

Devonshire school yard and Parking

DALHOUSIE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6R1
Eric Darwin, President



Walter.Piovesan@ocdsb.ca

Dear Mr. Piovesan,

Devonshire Public School is housed in a lovely heritage building fronted by large mature trees. It serves many children who live in the area of the Dalhousie Community Association (DCA).

The Board of Directors of the DCA would like to express strong opposition to converting scarce school yard area for staff parking.

There are alternatives. While we recognize that many staff drive, we would like to urge the OCDSB to review its policy of enabling car commuting through its policy of offering free on-site parking to its staff. Does the OCDSB budget similar per person amounts to encourage staff to use public transit? Does it ever consider proximity to a school in hiring staff? Will the Board look at off-site parking measures, such as at Tom Brown arena or even the large underused private parking lot directly across the street from the school?

The OCDSB must “walk the talk” when it comes to environmental stewardship. This means preserving large trees along the Breezehill frontage, respectfully maintaining historic properties, and providing attractive recreational and outdoor learning spaces. Operating parking lots should not be a key board priority in urban neighborhoods.

Last but not least, this school's parent community spent years to fundraise for the rejuvenation of the exterior spaces you are now converting into car parking, and has been working for years on the other yard. Funding from the Board for these improvements has been noticeable by its absence. Why is there money to provide spaces for cars but not for children?

Any consideration of the use of school property has to put as its top priority the needs of children. It is simply unacceptable to cut the children's outdoor space. The OCDSB must find a solution that works for Devonshire's children and indeed all schools, a solution that is sustainable - environmentally, economically, and socially.



- Eric Darwin.

1 comment:

  1. As a teacher of 31 years, I suggest you hang around at leaving time for a few days at the school. You will invariably see almost all teachers leave with huge bags, and boxes of student work for marking and teaching aids. I totally sympathize with your situation, but don't know how most teachers could manage public transit with all that stuff to carry!

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