Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Breslau Memorial Park will Not be Sold for Catholic School

Woolwich Council stated throughout this process that they wanted to solicit as much feedback as possible on the proposed partnership between the WCDSB and the Township.  As outlined in my previous post, we have spent the last year debating this project and soliciting feedback.  Council decided to hold a council meeting at the Breslau Community Centre on January 12, 2016 as the final debate on this proposal.  In total, approximately 60 delegations either spoke or included a written submission to this meeting.  Over 80% of those delegations spoke against the project.
The meeting was more than 3 hours long and it proceeded quite quickly with very few disruptions.  Once the delegations had finished, the tension in the room was thick and emotion got the better of some of the audience as the councillors made their statements. In the end, the council was split and 3 voted for selling the land (S. Shantz, M. Murray, S. Hahn) and 3 voted against selling the land (P. Merlihan, L. Shantz, M. Bauman).  A split vote means that the motion fails and the 4-acres of Breslau Memorial Park are not declared surplus and they cannot be sold.

Following the vote Mayor Shantz stated that she did not have any desire to bring this up again and council vowed to let this project die and instructed staff to communicate the results of the vote to the WCDSB. In response, the WCDSB sent out a letter to the families at St. Boniface, stating they were disappointed at this result.  The letter also included information on an alternative option for the new school in Breslau.

"The board currently has a school site reserved in Breslau and we will move forward with construction of the new school as soon as possible, subject to completion of an on-going municipal planning process.  We anticipate the planning process will be concluded in the next 12 months. Our hope, therefore, would be to have our new school built and open by September 2019."

I am happy to hear that the school board has other options and the delay caused by not going forward with the proposed partnership seems to be about 1 year.

This story in the news:

The question now becomes what next?

 Residents of Breslau were deeply divided on this project and at times, both sides of the debate crossed a few lines.  We are still neighbours and we still need to work to build community.  A small group of residents have started some preliminary discussions about how we can move forward.  At this time we do not have the answers, we probably don't even know all the questions.  We have reached out to the township for direction and we look forward to the ongoing discussions both with Councillors and staff, as well as all residents of Breslau.  There will be many opportunities for large numbers of people to get involved as we move forward.  For now, we have created a Facebook page to help start the conversations with our neighbours.  You can view that page at https://www.facebook.com/BuildingBreslau/.

Dialogue and involvement with the entire Breslau community is the only way to ensure success and I look forward to being a part of that success.