A word from our City Councillor Cathy Wong

In the newsletter last month, I mentionned the construction of a school in Peter-McGill as my first wish for 2019. In these « Journées de la perséverance scolaire » (February 11th to 15th), I wish to write again about this topic, because it deserves more than ever our attention and our dedication.

In summary, currently, Peter-McGill residents don’t have access to a school in their district. Every year, thousands of parents are forced to register their children in schools in the Plateau, South West, Westmount, and beyond.

Having access to a school located within walking distance of one’s residence is, however, far from being a luxury. Most Montreal families have this opportunity. It’s time for Peter McGill’s children to have it too! Especially since studies have shown that the time of transportation between home and school is a factor that influences the success of students.

Yielding results…

Last winter, many of you were present at Cabot Square, at the invitation of the Table de Quartier Peter-McGill,. I still remember all the voices of the families in the neighborhood who spoke loud and clear to highlight the consequences of our current situation. It was a great example of mobilization. And a mobilization that are now yielding results.

On June 1, 2018, the government of Québec approved the construction of two new schools in our district: one on the Académie Bourget site, the other on the site of the Gray Nuns. We even learned that an architectural competition will be open for the first project.

But concerns remain…

That being said, several legitimate fears were expressed about the choice of the Gray Nuns site. After all, it is a heritage site and one of the rare green space of our district. Winning a primary school, but losing a green space is not an optimal scenario.

In response to this dilemma, last December, the CSDM adopted a resolution aiming to start discussions with the Ministry of Education to review the number of classes and to set up a garden courtyard on the chosen site.

In parallel, the Grand Seminaire has submitted the idea of converting one of its parkings into a primary school. The detailed plans proposed by the Grand Seminair team inspired many of us.

What’s next?

As long as children living in Peter-McGill do not have their first school year in the neighborhood, we will have to continue to get involved and make our voices heard. To that end, I invite you to attend a meeting on Tuesday, February 26, 2019, concerning the dilemma of the project to build a school on the site of the Gray Nuns. The event will take place at the YWCA, in the Holden-Fisher Hall (1355 Rene-Levesque West) from 5 pm to 6:30 pm.

And let’s not be afraid to say it: time is running out. With the outburst of real estate projects in our area, the population of our district will increase rapidly.

You can count on me to work on the project of new schools in Peter-McGill, with the Table de quartier, the Quartier des Grands jardins Concertation Table, the CSDM and the office of Westmount-St-Louis MP Jennifer Maccarone. I will always vigorously defend the project of a family-friendly and youth-friendly downtown.