Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Another school year without green
The grass sure is growing slowly on Gordon Bell High School’s field of dreams.
I checked back, and it was Dec. 8 of 2009 that I first reported that Education Minister Nancy Allan would be in the school gym that morning to announce the project was a go.
The province was spending $5.3 million to acquire the former car dealership next door on Portage Avenue and convert it into a green space/athletic field for the inner city grades 7-12 school.
Winnipeg School Division would take ownership Jan. 8.
And ever since, WSD has been developing plans to develop plans to consider planning for public consultation on what should be built there.
I’m paraphrasing former Ontario premier Bill Davis, who liked to defer questions with, "We have no plans to have plans." But I digress.....
This morning, officials with the school division told me that consultation with the public will take place sometime this fall, but "specific date(s) has/have not yet been established".
So, there, breaking news, and now you’re in the know and totally on top of everything you need to know.
It means that there won’t be anything on that property for Gordon Bell students until the fall of 2011 at the earliest. And that’s if decisions are made over next winter and the shovels go in the ground come the thaw next spring.
We’ve run umpteen stories about what will or won’t fit on that site, reports galore from the division and city hall and the University of Winnipeg. People at U of W believe that a soccer pitch and some bleachers can fit there under certain configurations, and they’d like to play varsity soccer at Gordon Bell.
We’ll let you know when and where WSD decides to hold public consultation.
Gosh, I wonder if it’ll be prior to the school board election in late October?
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More Telling Tales Out of School
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About Nick Martin
Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.
He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.
Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.
Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.
Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.
Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.
Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.
A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.
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