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Thursday, 08 November 2012 15:10

Swift Current school has pluses and minuses

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I was filled with optimism as I read about the groundbreaking for the new school project. It is a lofty goal and a dream that I hope makes this ‘joint use’ school markedly different from others in the province.

When the idea for the ‘joint’ school was first presented to the public, we were told that this would be a more effective use of space as a joint school could share a gym, library and other areas instead of requiring the building of separate space for these in each school. This was misleading, as in fact, these schools require separate libraries. This has been confirmed with the school boards. While mention of joint use of a library disappeared as discussion continued, many people still believe that a joint school library is part of the plan.
In existing joint schools in the province, the original joint use space has caused conflict to the extent that walls have since been erected dividing the gym, fences now divide the playground and even arrival and dismissal times have been adjusted to eliminate the mingling of the students. I wonder how the challenges of ‘sharing’ space will be addressed in this school. What plan is in place that will make this school different and prevent these issues in the new school?
The Government of Saskatchewan press release stated “Once completed, the integrated facility”…….offering “a fieldhouse and wellness centre, a library and art gallery, a hospital and long-term care facility, and an aquatics centre…..” 
Why is this being stated as fact, when the city insists that this is simply a proposal? I have not seen or heard a statement from the city correcting this statement. When we, the citizens, voice concerns about the ‘grand’ plans that are being presented, the city has been quite adamant in stating that this is a ‘proposal’. I have consistently referred to this as a proposal, but on many occasions, the city neglects to include the word proposal, when presenting ‘their’ dream. Now we have the provincial government issuing a press release about what will make up the integrated facility and there is no mention of a proposal at all.
It is our tax dollars that are being spent to ‘advertize and sell’ this dream to us and others in the province. Remember that it will also be our tax dollars that will pay for it. Let’s insist that this proposal be realistic and affordable and that we have a say in what is included.
At the recent open house for the City’s Housing Plan, it was interesting to note that the consulting firm that drew up these plans chose to use the middle rate of projected population growth, instead of the highest rate that the city is using for city development. Middle rate is 1.54% and the highest rate is 2.27% over 20 years, resulting in a population of 20,308 and 23,435 respectively in 2026.
Is it conceivable that we will grow to over 23,000 people by 2026? If the city believes this, then would it not be wise to plan for housing development for that number?
I believe that we have a great city and that we need to look forward, but we need to remain interested and informed in what is happening.
Thank you to all who ran in the recent election and congratulation to the new council. I hope that you will work to represent the citizens of Swift Current and look carefully at plans as they are being made.

Shirley Ens, Swift Current

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