[caption id="attachment_16702" align="aligncenter" width="397"] Riverview expanded in 1962; to close in 2016. Photo of article courtesy of Rohinton Ghandi.[/caption] Decisions by the Lester B Pearson school board on Monday night mean that six buildings--Lakeside in Lachine, Riverside in Verdun, Martin Tabachnick in Dorval, Orchard in LaSalle, Thorndale in Pierrefonds and Sherwood Forest in Beaconsfield--will be empty on July 1, 2016, to be turned over to the Marguerite Bourgeoys schoolboard or sold. Chairperson Suanne Stein Day said her administrators advised the moves be made as a precursor to proposed provincial government budget cuts.
Last spring, the ministry of education threatened to remove maintenance funding for any school with less than 50% occupancy,” said Stein Day. “They took that clause out at the last minute, but we expect it to be brought back again in future. And to be fair, it’s not something that I’m against. We’d much rather spend money on students rather than brick and mortar.”For the rest of the story, please refer to the Suburban online article, which also appeared on page 1 of today's West Island edition. Also refer to: http://traceyarial.com/blog/allion_clean-up/, which refers to the major environmental clean-up project done on Riverview's land at public expense just last summer. Continue reading
[caption id="attachment_16669" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Striking teachers walking past Douglas Research Institute[/caption] On Monday morning November 16, at 8:40, a couple of dozen striking teachers and one reporter left LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School on 9th Avenue in LaSalle and began walking downtown.
We’re going to walk to where the common front is meeting at the Metropolis near Place des Arts,” said Paul Wasacz, who teaches a semi-skilled program at the high school. “We did it a few years ago during our 2005 contract talks and found that it’s a good way to get together, a good way to stay united.”Walking is also a good way to get noticed. As we walked north on 9th Avenue and east on Champlain, cars and trucks continually honked. The noise got even heavier as we passed striking workers at the Douglas Research Institute and Beurling Academy.
We’re noticing more support these days,” said one of the teachers.Eight teachers from Beurling Academy joined the group and four others from Pearson Adult Career Centre (PACC) joined in at a mini-break at Atwater Market. The group then continued along Atwater and east on Sainte Catherine before reaching Metropolis at 11:30 a.m. As we walked in the sun, one after another of the teachers explained their concerns about large classes and diminishing special need services. The broad strokes of teacher rights and obligations are outlined within a 73-page agreement between the Lester B. Pearson school board and the Pearson Teacher’s Union. The details, however, are much more restrictive. According to the teachers, government bureaucrats and union number crunchers force them to report where they are and what they’re doing every second of every day. None of the teachers who spoke were complaining, and all of the stories included heartwarming incidents serving students. To someone who hasn’t been in a classroom in years, however, their stories emphasized an unbelievable rigidity in schools these days. From 8:29 in the morning until 3:29 in the afternoon, teachers and students follow a regimented routine. Classes last only 50 minutes in Beurling and 53 minutes in LaSalle Comprehensive and the curriculum is designed to take up every one of those minutes. Schedules rotate around six days, with five periods and lunch covering each day. Teachers have to fill in reports justifying lessons in each period. The timetable allows for no extra discussions with students, no marking time and no bathroom breaks. There’s no free time to speak with one another, no time to encourage one another, no time to use the washroom or take a walk. This rigidity affects every classroom. For example, a physical education teacher described the difficulty ensuring that students use only three minutes to get changed so that they can move for more than half an hour. A science teacher described the challenges ensuring that every student gets a hands-on chance to conduct an experiment in a class of 38 students. Imagine a room in which nine groups of four or five students gather around hot plates, trying to determine how heat affects the amount of sugar dissolving in water. A drama teacher spoke about the challenges keeping students on task when so many of them constantly check their latest social media messages. An art teacher described his frustration trying to answer all students’ questions while still ensuring that everyone has a chance to draw or paint before having to pack away their materials. Other issues they’re facing are challenging too. One teacher described relatively small classes of only 23 and 28 students. Each of them had 14 students with “individualized education plans” or IEPs. IEPs enable teachers to understand special needs of a student, which can range from a hearing disorder that requires seating in a specific location to autism.
My classes seem small when you don’t look at the details of who I’m working with,” said the teacher. “It’s those details that the government proposes taking away.”Continue reading
If you want to participate in the public consultations about the Wanklyn development next week, you must make an appointment with Gilles Vézina at (514) 872-8510 today or tomorrow.
The hearings will be held next Tuesday night, October 13 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Sofia reception centre, 420 Avenue Lafleur in LaSalle.
Vézina says that submissions in English are welcome, so please do so. Although residents who participated in the information session on September 15 who asked questions in English were given answers in French, the commissioners are capable of understanding English presentations.
The Wanklyn project is a residential development to take place on the old TransContinental printing plant property and adjacent lands. The entire project concerns 47,139 square metres between Cherry Lane, Jean-Milot, Wanklyn and Highway 138.
The owner, The Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ, proposes to build 786 units and a park on the site, including 119 units for people with low and moderate incomes, 230 units for first-time buyers who need government assistance to purchase a condo, and 437 rentals, condos and/or seniors’ units.
The hearings are the second step in a consultation led by Montreal’s public consultation office (Office de consultation publique de Montreal or OCPM).
Three commissioners will hear submissions: Bruno Bergeron, who participated in developing the Vincent d’Indy de Boucherville Park; Arlindo Vieira, who was behind a report about the under-representation of minorities in the public service when he led the Conseil des relations interculturelles; and Luba Serge, a specialist in analyzing social housing.
Submissions about the project from the developer and the borough of LaSalle are located at http://ocpm.qc.ca/ilot-wanklyn. Borough submissions a copy of the borough’s zoning, architectural bylaws and housing strategy; a copy of Montreal’s master urban plan and a copy of the regional agglomeration master development plan.
Despite the obvious link between this development and that of the agglomeration, the OCPM is also hearing submissions about the agglomeration development plan Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
Anyone interested in both developments must pick the one they care about most, something that particularly frustrates Sonja Susnjar, the activist who ensured that citizens knew how to reject two previous Wanklyn proposals for development in 2011 and 2012.
Everyone who lives in this enclave knows that expansive development in this area will lead to more gridlock than we already have,” said Susnjar. “There are no active transportation options in this area. I once tried to get to NDG by public transport and it took two and a half hours. If local citizens have a real say, this project won’t happen.”
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Three community groups and the local IGA have teamed up to collect food for the HOPE (Helping Other People Effectively) Food Bank in the St. John Brebeuf Church, 7777 George Street in LaSalle.
This is the fifth year in a row that the event has taken place.
Volunteers with St. John Brebeuf, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the LaSalle Knights of Columbus will be going door to door this Saturday (September 12) to ask for non-perishable goods from 10 a.m. until noon.
Residents who won’t be home, but would like to contribute are asked to leave their cans and other foods in a paper bag on their porch prior to 10 a.m.
The group also welcomes additional volunteers and drivers. Anyone who has the time and inclination to participate is asked to arrive at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints building, 7110 Newman Blvd. in LaSalle by 9:00 a.m. on September 12th.
For further information, the group has a Facebook event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1029744850372098/.
This month, Montreal’s public consultation office (Office de consultation publique de Montreal or OCPM) begins holding hearings into the residential project to be constructed on a 47,139-square-metre triangular property between Cherry Lane, Jean-Milot, Wanklyn and Highway 138 in LaSalle.
The owner, The Fonds immobilier de solidarité FTQ, prop
oses to build 786 units and a park on the site, including 119 units for people with low and moderate incomes, 230 units for first-time buyers who need government assistance to purchase a condo, and 437 rentals, condos and/or seniors’ units.
The office will hold an information session about the project on Tuesday, September 15 at 7 p.m. at the Sofia reception centre, 420 Avenue Lafleur in LaSalle.
Three commissioners have been appointed to conduct the consultations. They are: Bruno Bergeron, who participated in developing the Vincent d’Indy de Boucherville Park; Arlindo Vieira, who was behind a report about the under-representation of minorities in the public service when he led the Conseil des relations interculturelles; and Luba Serge, a specialist in analyzing social housing.
Anyone who wants to submit comments or recommendations about the project will be able to do so on Tuesday, October 13 in the same location at 7 p.m. To do so, however, they must make an appointment with Gilles Vézina at (514) 872-8510 prior to, or on, October 8.
Several LaSalle residents will probably participate in the hearings. The current project is essentially the same as one rejected by local citizens in 2012 due to concerns about traffic, parking, snow-clearing and noise. The developer submitted several reports about these issues to commissioners.
The borough of LaSalle also submitted its own reports about the project, including a copy of the borough’s zoning, architectural bylaws and housing strategy; a copy of Montreal’s master urban plan and a copy of the regional agglomeration master development plan.
Ironically, the OCPM is holding hearings into Montreal’s regional development plan on the same evening (October 13) as their Wanklyn consultation. Anyone who wants to present a brief about Wanklyn will not be able to follow or participate in hearings about the overall regional plan.