Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Traffic and Safety Concerns - New School

If you are new to this discussion I wrote an open letter expressing my concerns about the location of the proposed new catholic school in Breslau.  I followed that up with a call to action and a petition that has now exceeded 200 signatures. I gathered all the information for this project that I could find and posted it so we all could find it easier and be prepared to ask intelligent questions at the public meeting on February 26 @ 7:00pm at the Community Centre. My last post raised questions about financing and the actual costs of upgrading Breslau Memorial Park.  That brings us to this past week and it has been a busy one with a few media outlets getting interested.
This experience has taught me that it isn't easy to clearly express your message when you are talking to someone who is very new to the discussion.  Especially if that someone is going to publish your comments in a permanent publication or broadcast your voice on the radio.  I tried to express my concerns clearly, hopefully others find it coherent.

Traffic & Safety

As any Breslau resident knows, between 8:20 and 8:40 this place gets a really busy especially around Joseph, Dolman and Shields streets.  Many schools in Waterloo Region have the same problem when it comes to parents dropping children off at school.  Historically this was not a problem as students would walk themselves to school or take a bus.  However, with changing demographics and societal norms children no longer walk themselves to school.  Since parents need to get to work as soon as possible, parent drop off on the way to work is becoming much more prevalent.  I have to admit that I too am guilty of this and I am part of the problem.  Recently, I have tried to drop off in more convenient locations but schools just aren't prepared for this.  This is not unique to Breslau Public School, I have had conversations with parents across Waterloo Region and they all have similar stories.  When the township proposed this new school deep in the Riverland subdivision my thoughts, as well as others, went quickly to this problem.  I hope at minimum the bell times for the new school, wherever it is located, are offset from the current school. It would be ideal if this new school had a more direct connection to the main street but I am not sure of the feasibility of that.  
How do you plan to accommodate more traffic coming into Breslau and does this school have a plan to deal with parents driving up and dropping off children?
I hope that the planners who are proposing this new school have a plan on how to deal with the very prevalent parent drop off routine.

Shared Spaces & Safety

The proposal includes allowing the school to connect to the community centre gymnasium.  I can see this as a very clear win for the school as the gymnasium is a very large facility and can accommodate many different programs.  My concern is the idea that right now it is 100% community space, a central community space that Breslau has lacked for a long time.  Now we are being asked to give up part of it to share with the school.  
What is going to happen to community programs currently run out of the community centre and the gym during school hours?
I have heard from others that they are concerned with safety if these programs (school and community) can occur simultaneously.  Conversely, if community programs are cancelled during "school hours" I can't see that going over well.
Does the proposal include a fenced in school yard with a play structure for students to use during outdoor recreation time? If not immediately, how long before a fence will be built?
Again a double edged sword.  If the  school yard is fenced then all the properties that back on to this space are going to now back onto a fence and I know that many of them would have planned their backyards and their own property boundaries very differently if they knew this was the case.  Everyone who backs onto the park has built a gate in their backyard fence.  How will this play out if the gate can't open because of a new chain link fence? Conversely again, if no fence is present how does the school plan to keep children safe with a fully accessible public park and baseball diamond next door?

Community Meeting - February 26 - 7:00pm @ Breslau Community Gymnasium

I want to encourage everyone to come out to the public meeting planned for Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 7:00pm at the Breslau Community Gymnasium.  We recently received a page of information about the project for the meeting recently in our mail box.

I am very proud of where we live, I feel confident living in a vibrant growing community, and I am excited to tell people about the innovations of our region.  I am thankful for the opportunity to speak up and have community engagement, your community is only as good as you demand it to be.  We want it to be the best for us now and the best for our children who will inherit it from us.  Thank you for reading my ramblings and thank you for showing interest.

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