Seven years ago this month, I, along with many other concerned parents, fought desperately to save a school in Moose Jaw, that was in a very similar situation to that of Connaught School. Unfortunately for the Prairie South School Division, they didn't have the benefit of the - highly questionable and very subjective - "structurally unsound" excuse to use. Instead, they opted for the all-too-often-used-in-2007 excuse of "declining enrolment" that many communities were facing in Saskatchewan at the time. Oddly enough though, that school was actually bursting at the seams in enrolment, so of course, that excuse was about as valid as the questionable "structural" problems that the Regina Public School Board is claiming for Connaught School. To see this exact same situation play out before my very eyes once again - it hurts me so much, not only as a taxpayer, but as someone that was directly impacted by the disgusting actions of a select few that only have dollar $igns in their eyes. In Moose Jaw, Ecole Ross School has now been converted to condominums. In Regina, it seems that our construction-friendly Mayor and School Board (vis a vis Provincial Government) are all-too-happy to destroy rich heritage for new and flashy, just to satisfy their construction buddies.
To the parents and community supporters in the Connaught School area, I have this to say:
KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT!!!
Accept nothing less than a moratorium on any school closures until a truly independent review is done.
These situations are far too easily manipulated by those with corporate dollars wanting their way. For the School Board to claim structural issues, for example, these issues wouldn't just develop overnight. This happens due to years upon years of wilful neglect, and furthermore, when the School Board refuses to allow an independent second opinion to be provided, something stinks to high heaven.
It is certainly no coincidence that we have all of this record construction happening in a City run by the "former" President of the Saskatchewan Construction Association.
On that note, another interesting development regarding the recent PCL Stadium Announcement:
Did you know? - PCL Construction was actually the company that provided a "very detailed" breakdown of construction costs for the Stadium Project that the Provincial Government, under the leadership of Ken Cheveldayoff and Premier Brad Wall, proposed to happen back in 2010.
In February 2010, the construction costs were pegged at $336.4 MILLION just for the construction of the stadium alone. Granted, this included a roof, but considering the exhorbitant inflation that Regina and area has seen in the last four years, and that figure assumably uses 2008-2010 construction rates (after all, these reports aren't just thrown together in a month), it certainly makes one wonder -
How realistic are the costs in this "new" proposal that PCL submitted to the City of Regina?
More specifically, how on Earth did PCL Construction magically shave off at least $86 MILLION (considering the current project is $250M for construction alone, and the $336.4M should be grossed up significantly to account for construction cost inflation of 4-6 years, one could reasonably assume they've easily shaved off $100-150 MILLION from the 2010 figures) and exactly what features are the taxpayers losing out on with this new TOP SECRET proposal?
PROPOSAL IN CITY DOCUMENTS MAY 2012:
This is what PCL had to shoot for, and was the absolute maximum they could submit their RFP for. (And are continued into February 2014)
(Ignore the Municipal/Provincial breakdown since that's shot out the window now, as well - surprise, surprise!)
PCL CONSTRUCTION COSTS DETAILED BREAKDOWN FEBRUARY 2010:
One must also ask - Why is the City of Regina entrusting any project to PCL Construction, considering the horrible experience they had with the massively over budget and timeframe City Square Plaza project? (AKA "Pat's Patio" or "Hill's Haven").
DIRECTLY FROM RECOMMENDATION REPORT REGARDING CITY SQUARE PLAZA:
It certainly couldn't have anything to do with PCL's association with many - ultra expensive - downtown highrise projects - could it?
Nahhhh...I'm sure this is just a coincidence!
It's time to MARCH AGAINST CORRUPTION everyone!
Join us this Monday, March 31, 2014 at City Hall at HIGH NOON!