| Jul 09, 2009

Back to HomeFeature Article - July 9, 2009 Sharbot Lake PARC to meetagain in August.by Jeff Green

A last-minute intervention in favour of locating a new school in Parham led members of the so-called “Sharbot Lake PARC” (Program and Accommodation Review Committee) to call another meeting before submitting their final report to the school board.

Members of the committee will have one month to consider narrowing the wording on the location of a new school. The wording in their draft report calls for the school to be built “at the Sharbot Lake High School site or any other appropriate site.”

The members of the Limestone District School Board’s PARC for Sharbot Lake High School and its four feeder schools have been meeting since January, and their latest meeting (July 6) followed two public meetings in June.

Near the end of the meeting, which until then had focussed on the input received at the public meetings, Leslie Pickard, a parent representative from Hinchinbrooke school, presented some information she has gathered about available land at the Hinchinbrooke site, which at 6 acres had been deemed too small to handle the new Kindergarten to grade 12 school that is recommended by the report.

Pickard had contacted the adjacent landowners, which include Viv Lowery, Forde Robinson, the Township of Central Frontenac, and the Parham Fair Board, and made the argument that the cost of purchasing or obtaining agreements for leasing the necessary lands would be minimal.

“Certainly when you compare the sale value of the Sharbot Lake High School site [estimated in a board staff report at $250,00] and the sale value of the Hinchinbrooke site [estimated at $125,000] there is no real cost advantage to Sharbot Lake over Parham,” Pickard said.

“I'm not doing this because I'm from Parham,” she said, “it's just that this is a decision that we will live with for 40 years, and I did this research because this is what feels right to me. I am open to any site, but if we are hoping to attract students from the south in order to have some enhanced programming, Parham is closer than Sharbot Lake. The site is also flat and open. It is just a better location than the Sharbot Lake High School site.”

Pickard's submission threw a bit of a curve ball into a process that seemed, at that point, to have been winding up.

PARC members representing both Sharbot Lake schools, and Clarendon Central in Plevna, challenged the assertion that Parham is a central location, noting the distance from Plevna to Parham.

Cheryl Armstrong, school council co-chair from Sharbot Lake High School, said, “Leslie gave a wonderful presentation about the advantages of this site. No one gave a presentation about Sharbot Lake. I'm a little concerned that if we submit our report with the wording it has now, there will be no opportunity to look more closely at Sharbot Lake. Should we not be choosing the site as a PARC rather than leaving it up to the board, as our wording has it now?”

Roger Richard, the school board treasurer, agreed, saying, “From the PARC's point of view it is always best for PARC to make a decision.”

Barb McLaren, a school board trustee (representing South Frontenac) who has been chairing the PARC meetings, said there is “nothing stopping us from having another meeting before finalising our report.”

A meeting has been set for August 11 at Sharbot Lake High School. School board staff will prepare a report on the implications for bussing of the two proposed school locations, and if a member of the committee wants to provide background about the advantages of the Sharbot Lake High School site they will have the opportunity to do so. 

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