Previous school plan’s problem was choice of Woodlands site

Re: Previous facility plan had considerable merit, Guest Comment, Nov. 3.

To the Editor,

Re: Previous facility plan had considerable merit, Guest Comment, Nov. 3.

$87 million dollars – good for the district. New, fully-utilized schools – cheaper to run and better for students than old, underutilized schools.

Who could disagree?

Well no one did then and no one does now.

However, none of this goes to explain why Woodlands, rather than NDSS, should have been chosen as the site for the new school, and it was that decision which was the crux of the issue.

It wasn’t the fundamentals of the plan that were flawed, it was the choice of Woodlands over NDSS, in the defiance of all the evidence that NDSS was the superior site in every way, and the twisting of evidence and withholding of facts in service of that agenda.

Here’s just one example:

Why will no supporter of the old plan (Phipps included since he was part of that management team he is now defending) step up and explain how it was responsible planning to include the revenue for selling the whole NDSS site, but not address the cost of replacing the essential facilities that are located there (District Administration Centre, maintenance and bus yard) or else address the impact of lower revenue if a smaller part of the site were sold?

Why was the simple question “Did you mean the whole 1.4 hectare site when you put that revenue figure in the business case?” so contentious that it required legal advice, discussion in a closed board meeting and four months of the school district ignoring polite requests for a response?

This was about the straightforward clarification of pretty simple facts contained in a public document. Getting a straight answer to a straight question on a civic matter should not feel like international espionage.

Would the ministry still have approved the plan, even if they had been aware of this detail?

Probably. Their only concern is compliance with ministry policies, and even then it seems they are willing to bend (e.g. it didn’t seem to bother the ministry that Woodlands is below their own site size standard for a school of the size proposed).

It would be the local district, not the ministry that would have to cope with the unaccounted for extra cost for relocating the administration centre, bus and maintenance yards, or finding extra capital money when the sale revenue the plan depended on was lowered to keep those facilities in place.

Phipps also implies Nanaimo was denied funding recently by the government because of the current board’s performance.

In actuality, it’s perfectly clear that unless your school district experienced a dramatic increase in enrolment, no one would have received any money from this government.

The problem with the previous plan was never with its general outline. It would not have raised the opposition it did if it looked as good close up as it did from afar.

Barb Humpherville, Nanaimo

Just Posted

Nanaimo city council issues permit for Third Street ‘gateway’ development

181 residential units plus commercial space to be built on site of former Armishaw farm

Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre was shut down during police incident Monday

Local artist explores Nanaimo’s old Chinatown in new video installation

Charlotte Zhang among eight artists in Nanaimo Art Gallery’s ‘Estuary’ exhibition starting this week

Three blocks of Bruce Avenue will be closed until fall

Work will include utility upgrades, new curbs and sidewalks and new on-street bike lanes

Nanaimo Clippers won’t be hosting 2021 national championships

Hockey Canada hasn’t announced successful bid, but has advised it won’t be Nanaimo

VIDEO: Reports say Lashana Lynch is the new 007

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Bond one last time

Silly Boat Regatta fills Nanaimo harbour with silly sailing

Island Red Cedar Construction wins this year’s race

Nine kittens and cats rescued after being locked in bins in northern B.C.: SPCA

SPCA says cats were starving, and matted with feces and urine

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

High-speed rail link would run from Vancouver to Seattle in under 1 hour: study

Annual ridership is projected to exceed three million

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

U.S. tug firm to be sentenced for 2016 spill in B.C. First Nation’s territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

Asylum figures show overall slower rate of irregular crossings into Canada

Between January and June 2019, a total of 6,707 asylum seekers crossed irregularly into Canada

Wolves not gnawing into Island’s prey population

Forestry practices, not predation, blamed for reduced numbers in prey animals

Most Read