Wednesday 25 February 2009

Gordon Bell vs Canada Post

I really thought this Gordon Bell thing would just blow over and common sense would prevail, but once again I am mistaken. Let's recap the history of the issue:

Feb 2007: Midway Chrysler closes, vacating a triangular lot on the high-traffic corner of Portage and Broadway.

Nov 2007: Canada Post buys the lot for a new letter-carrier depot. MP Pat Martin expresses concerns about Canada Post abandoning downtown, but no mention of Gordon Bell high school.

May 2008: Report comes out showing that enrollment for Gordon Bell High School dropped more than any other school in Winnipeg.

June 2008: Pat Martin discovers that there is a high school attended by kids of people who vote next to the new Canada Post site, and calls for the site to be turned over to the school for use as an athletic field. Pat uses out-dated enrollment figures in his announcement.

Feb 2009: The fight continues. Pat and the school division are now asking tax payers to pony up $4 million to buy the land off Canada Post, who will then have to find another spot to put their new building.

Meanwhile, several people have shown that a standard athletic field would not fit on that parcel of land.

I am all for athletics, and I would love to see all schools with a proper track and athletic field, but the sad reality is this school did not come with one, and the window of opportunity for snapping up this triangle of land was missed.

At this point the cost of changing plans would be large. Canada Post would have to delay leaving their current site (construction on the new place was scheduled to start this year), buy a new piece of land that is suitable, and design a new building because presumably a triangle-shaped building will not fit well on the new space. Who's going to pay for this? Will the Gordon Bell students hold the world's largest bake sale? Will Pat Martin pay? Oh what the hell .. just add it on to the $4 million dollars. Money grows on trees on Manitoba, right?

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