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Jan 10,2007 - Letter to editor Tri City News

Jan 10 2007

The Editor,

To some, itís just an address, to others, itís that annoying school zone that gets in the way while trying to get from Port Moody to Coquitlam via Gatensbury Road. It is more importantly, the address of a school that has been on this site since 1908. It has provided quality education to thousands of children, many of which are third and upcoming fourth generation students. It provides one of the few on-site breakfast/lunch programs in the district. It has a daycare in it, which services people from all over Greater Vancouver. Cadets have been using this facility for the last 40 years up to four nights a week.

The community that Moody elementary serves is a great one, and the school has been integral in keeping a safe and secure neighbourhood. Our kids know they are important because they know they belong and are accepted for who they are.

This is the second time Moody elementary has been put on the closure list, even though it fits none of the criteria as outlined in Policy 15. The school district is citing declining enrolment as the current reason to shut down schools, but since 2003 (the last time school closures were considered), our enrolment has been fairly stable. Moody elementary even turned 10 students away this year, dropping our enrolment (including kindergarten students) from 128 to 118.

There are 1,831 residential units being built in Port Moody Town Centre, many of which are three and four-bedroom units. Yet, decline in enrolment is projected.

The projection was done by a company in Victoria, no less.

Now Moody elementary students are facing having to climb a brutal hill to get to their next school, and attending school in someone elseís community.

Gatensbury Road has no sidewalk, no shoulder to walk on, and is an extreme grade. Speed is an ongoing safety concern with this hill, as people see the steepness of grade and sharp turns a minor inconvenience on their daily commute. Hardly anyone stops at the stop sign at the bottom of the hill, at Henry and Grant streets (Gatensbury turns into Henry Street at the bottom of the hill).

Since the Provincial Government fought so hard to get Bill 18 passed, we need to make sure education gets treated, respected and funded like an essential service. Why are teachersí strikes considered the only hardship our students face that would make education an essential service?

Repeated attempts have been made to get trustees, school board administrators and media to come out and hike this hill with us. Those that cared to respond said there is no way they could make it, and those that didnít respond said volumes with their silence. Yet, this is the same hill our school district is expecting our five-to-10-year-olds to hike.

Caroline Parker

Moody Elementary PAC Chair

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