Letters to the Editor

School board’s public process concerning

To the Editor,

Re: Judge dismisses case against Nanaimo school district over south-end facilities plan, July 1.

The judge ruled on the legality of the process used to prepare the school district’s 10-year plan, not the wisdom of the plan itself. I’m sure that we can all think of something that may be legal to do, but ill-advised. Converting Cedar Community Secondary School at 107 per cent capacity into a so-called 21st-century mega-elementary at 50 per cent capacity is one such example – now ruled legal, but still ill-advised by any reasonable standard.

So, having battle-tested its public consultation process, the board is now engaging the public in a planning exercise for their proposed new Nanaimo District Secondary School.

Here are a few red flags to look out for: the plan is prepared by an off-Island consultant without public involvement, the board adopts the plan in principle, the board switches to listening mode, the board gives the public an opportunity to voice concerns or share ideas, the board does not give any feedback on what it thinks of the public’s concerns or ideas, the board announces its decisions. That was our experience with the process used by the board south of Nanaimo.

I have to give the trustees credit for one thing – they did exactly what they said they were going to do on Day 1. So, having made sacrifices and tough decisions, the board will now do what it can to make the next few months appear like a season of renewal, just in time for this fall’s election. I’m sure the trustees will be doing a lot more talking this time around as they go about trying to fill us up with hope and win our hearts, minds and votes.

Jukka Efraimsson
Nanaimo

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