the regina mom attended a public meeting with representatives of the Regina Board of Education regarding Ecole Connaught Community School. The following open letter to the Premier follows the open letter to the RBE published in the Regina Leader Post earlier this week.
Dear Mr. Premier,
No doubt my constant challenges and snide remarks on Twitter are annoying to you and your staff. That’s kind of the point, you know. It was always tit-for-tat in my family of origin. Yes, I do try to be a better person now, but sometimes I fall back into old patterns.
It seems the Regina Board of Education (RBE) is also falling back into old patterns. Yet again, they’re trying to dupe the Cathedral community. Through years of neglect, the RBE has created a crisis at Ecole Connaught Community School. Two construction firms with which the RBE conducts regular business have declared the school to be in such terrible shape that the cost to fix it is prohibitive. Yet, neither of those firms are known as experts in the area of heritage buildings. In fact, both P3 Architects and J.C. Kenyon are known for their involvement in new builds in the province. Are there no conflict of interest guidelines within the Ministries of Education or Highways & Infrastructure for local school boards to follow?
And so, based on questionable data, the RBE decided that a rebuild is the only option and will proceed to convince you and your government to fund it. This is in direct opposition to what residents and the school community have requested. The RBE has furthermore refused to work with the community and allow heritage conservationists, funded by private citizens, into the school to conduct tests and to provide expert opinions on the matter. I therefore hold to what I stated in a March 2013 letter to you regarding this matter,
As a 25-year resident of the area I draw on my fundamental human right, as guaranteed by the United Nations, to insist you preserve the building. The real value of Connaught has not been properly assessed. The non-market aesthetic, cultural and other values of a refurbished school have not been properly accounted for. Furthermore, the environmental, social, and economic cost-benefit analysis of alternatives requested in public consultation meetings have not been addressed – in essence, the impacts of redevelopment on our community, our property values, our local businesses, our environment and other amenities such as the Connaught library have not been properly assessed nor communicated to local residents.
It is time for the Province of Saskatchewan to insist that the Regina Board of Education take its fiduciary responsibility seriously. But to do so, the Province must take seriously its role as Steward of a nationally-recognized historic school.
Really, Mr. Premier, there is an easy fix for this. Send the RBE back to the drawing board. Otherwise, according to the rumblings I heard tonight, you’d best be prepared for lawsuits. And, quite possibly, for me to fall back into old habits.
B. L. Wagner
cc: Minister of Education
Deputy Minister of Education
Minister of Highways & Infrastructure
Deputy Minister of Highways & Infrastructure
Regina Board of Education Trustees
Regina Leader Post
Save Our Connaught