Whatever their motives, you have to applaud the offer of a building site in southwestern St. Lazare to the Lester B. Pearson School Board by developers Ivor McLeod and Michael Laventure.
By handing a big chunk of prime land directly to the LBPSB, Lorraine-Baron Inc. has raised the bar for everyone involved in this game of school-location brinksmanship going on since January.
For those who can’t picture the location, it’s on Ste. Angèlique just east of the Côte St. Charles intersection. The soil is sandy and the site appears both dry and well drained. The setting is semi-rural, yet close enough to the Evergreen, Westwood and Forest Hill campuses as well as to the new developments where young families are most likely to settle. All things being equal, it would make an excellent site for that long-promised new English elementary school.
But all things aren’t equal. This school was supposed to be in Vaudreuil-Dorion, to relieve the chronic and severe overcrowding at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School, where the municipality is being asked to grant an extension for the use of portable classrooms. In fact, the LBPSB blocked plans to add a second storey to PETES on the basis of a vow to build a new school for that district.
So we fail to understand how a new English elementary school in southwestern St. Lazare is going to ease chronic overcrowding at PETES, Edgewater and St. Patrick’s in Pincourt.
It’s entirely possible the LBPSB demographers have seen something we can’t. Perhaps the off-island exodus – and the baby boom it brings – will continue to move west. We understand the board is looking at enrolment increases from Rigaud, Pointe Fortune and Les Cèdres. But is the English-speaking exodus to Vaudreuil-Dorion and the four Ile Perrot municipalities levelling off? Is there any indication the surge of new kindergarten enrolments will reverse itself next year?
We don’t know, because the LBPSB isn’t calling us back – always a bad sign.
As we’ve said, maybe we’re missing something. But busing is busing, whether it’s from Vaudreuil-Dorion to Hudson or to St. Lazare.
Hudson/St Lazare Gazette Editoral