There has been a lot of news regarding establishing a primary public school in the neighbourhood over the last month. We encourage you to read or reread this article on the actions we took in December, following a meeting with local parents. These actions included a colouring campaign, where local students asked Santa Claus for a school in Peter-McGill for Christmas. One such student, Hector (age 9), brought his wishes to the Borough Council. Take a look at his speech and the Mayor’s response in this video!
1/ Meeting with the Ministry of Education cabinet
On Monday December 18, a meeting was held with a staffer for Mr. Sébastien Proulx (Education Minister), along with Cathy Wong (City Councillor for Peter-McGill), François Laramée (Political staffer for Jacques Chagnon, Provincial deputy for our district), Stéphanie Richard (President of the St-Léon de Westmount School Council), Graham Singh (Parent of a local student and pastor at St-Jax Church), Stéphane Febbrari and Matthieu Pajot (Peter-McGill Community Council).
The Ministry is aware of the urgent need for schools in our neighbourhood, but several points were brought up, including the high asking price from the site developer (Devimco), and that it is up to the Commission scolaire de Montreal (CSDM) to negotiate directly with the developer. Devimco has already started excavating the site, and it would appeat that Mr. Goulet, the president of Devimco, had omitted the option of including a school on their part of the site.
2/ Meeting with Claridge
The former Montreal Children’s Hospital Site has 2 different developers – the first being Devimco and the other being Mr. Kerub. The latter developer will have Tower 1 on the north-west area of the site, the Nurses’ building, as well as Tower 6, which will become social housing. Mr. Kerub is currently in the midst of partnering with Claridge (capital management) and Chartwell/Batimo (residence builder for seniors). We met with Claridge on December 20, who explained that the social housing building for families will be included on the site (the last step is for the City and the developer to sign an official contract), and Tower 1 will become part housing for seniors and part luxury condos. Following this meeting, we found out that these developers were not in favour of including a school on their side of the site as they lacked space as well as the long delay in financing that would come from the Ministry.
3/ What’s Next?
Since the meeting with the Ministry of Education cabinet, to which the CSDM had not been invited, Ms. Cathy Wong proposed that the City of Montreal prove itself as a leader and convince all involved for a meeting that will allow us to decide together which site (amongst the 3 suggested by the CSDM) to move forward with in near future. We are waiting for news from Ms. Wong regarding the next meeting, which should be decisive. Furthermore, after Hector’s speech at the Borough Council meeting last month, a non-partisan motion was adopted for Councillors to work with the Ministry of Education “to assure the development of a primary school in the Peter-McGill district”. The General Management of the CSDM was also mandated to provide an opinion on the development of primary schools in the neighbourhood, most notably on the Children’s Hospital Site.
For these reasons, we continue to believe that establishing a school on the Children’s site is still a possibility; We would also like to invite our members who are interested to participate in an action, where we would invite the media to put pressure on all of the key decision makers involved.
One idea would be to assemble in Cabot Square (across from the Children’s site) before noon with our children, families and fellow community members but we remain open to other ideas!
Time is running out – this is why we must continue to act, and act soon. The Peter-McGill Community Council needs the support of as many people as possible, to bring parents and children to upcoming events, so whatever action we undertake is a success. If you would like to participate in an upcoming action, please contact Matthieu Pajot at firstname.lastname@example.org