The School Board is proposing to file a site plan with the City this year to:
- Accommodate 12 portables total at Manor Park Public School. The expectation is that not all 12 portables will be needed and that any portables beyond the current 4 will not be needed before September 2023.
- Change parking from the front of the school where buses drop off and pick up children to the corner of Eastbourne and Braemar. This would take the space currently occupied by one of the two baseball fields and provide 61 parking spaces.
- Expand the Kindergarten outdoor area.
The City needs to approve the site plan for the School Board to proceed with the associated work, which is planned for the summer of 2020.
I will be holding an information meeting on October 7th at 7pm at Manor Park School about the proposed changes to Manor Park PS School Yard. All are welcome.
Need for Portables
Currently Manor Park PS is at 101% capacity with 642 students. School Board Staff are predicting that by September 2023, enrolment will be 743 students (132% capacity). It is hoped that the Province will lift the 2017 moratorium on school accommodation reviews and a comprehensive boundary review for the area can take place in the 2023 school year. Before the moratorium was put in place, the District had planned to do an accommodation review for this area in the current school year.
Changing Parking from Front of School to North East corner of site
For many years, and especially since the change in busing that requires a very tight schedule so buses can make runs to three different schools, there have been safety concerns about mixing parking with where children get on and off buses. It is my understanding that changing the parking to address safety issues triggers City Bylaws about the number of parking spaces the school should have. I have been told that the proposed 61 space parking area is around 5 more space than required by the City. I will confirm the City requirements before the Oct. 7 meeting. I will also clarify what provision the current proposal makes for safe drop off of children by parents by car.
The concern most frequently raised to date is the loss of green space due to the relocation and expansion of parking. There have been suggestions that the School Board: provide no or very limited parking at the school; pay for parking at a nearby residential development; or, depend on City-permitted street parking. There are challenges including accommodations by the City to be able to implement any one or a combination of the three options.
I share concerns regarding over-capacity at the school, including pressure on gym space, washrooms, outdoor space (exacerbated when parking eats up greenspace) and children in portables rather than in the main building. The accommodation review will change boundaries. However, it is important to understand where students in the Wateridge development will go until there are enough students for the province to approve the building of a school there, a question I will be exploring with School Board staff.