Ladysmith council voted last Monday to add new policies to the town’s take on school planning after the recent uproar and pending change within School District 68.
At the March 17 regular council meeting at city hall, a report came forward from town staff outlining various new policies which council voted to pass unanimously.
Key points include outlining council’s “strong objections” to the closure of Ecole Davis Road Elementary this June as well as asking for consideration from SD68 on “limiting uses at Ecole Davis Road in order to retain a potential school site at this location.”
Despite voting in favour of the report, Coun. Gord Horth wanted opposition to portables being inserted into the report as he sees it as an easy option for SD68 to add the structures to current schools to create more space for students.
“In terms of good use of public buildings, portables are a bad statement,” said Horth. School trustees are making decisions to add more portables. Why would we permit that? You never see them leave. Lets make the school board make an investment.”
Horth was referring to his hope of a new school for the Town of Ladysmith and was backed up by Coun. Bill Drysdale.
“I support councillor Horth. We need a permanent structure that provides persistence to the community,” said Drysdale at the meeting.
Coun. Glenda Patterson also agreed but fears if a new school is not built or made, without portables being added to current Ladysmith schools, students in the town may have to look elsewhere due to lack of room.
“I also agree with councillor Horth but we may have to just accept the portables,” she said. “If we don’t go along with them, the kids may leave going home to schools.”
Mayor Rob Hutchins doesn’t see portables as a bad thing.
“They do leave as I taught in a portable at Ladysmith Secondary when there was six of them and that went down to one,” said the mayor. “I also taught in a portable at Ladysmith Intermediate and was eventually moved inside. If it wasn’t for the portables at Davis Road, the French Immersion program there would never have blossomed in our community. Portables can be a value.”