10:00 – Skating on Victoria Park
10:05 – Harold Russell, Kitchener resident (has written editorials about skating on lake)
10:10 – Frank Etherington, Councillor, City of Kitchener
There’s nothing more Canadian than skating on a frozen lake. Outdoor rinks at city hall, although great, just aren’t the same. Some Kitchener residents recall a time when hundreds of people would make their way to Victoria Park for an after school or after work skate on the lake. In 2002 Kitchener discontinued clearing the lake of snow due to a warm winter that made the surface of the ice dangerous. Now, due to a couple of cold winters over the last few years, some Kitchener residents are hoping the city will look at once again bringing public skating back to the lake in Victoria Park.
10:30 – Breslau School: NIMBY
Matthew VanderMeer, Breslau resident
A local man’s online petition has garnered about 180 signatures. He initially wrote an open letter on his blog, ‘the scene from here’ which was addressed to Woolwich Mayor Sandy Shantz and Chair of WCDSB Manuel da Silva.
It reads: “I am writing this letter to let you know that as a resident of Breslau I have significant concerns with your plans to build a new school in the green space directly behind my house. While I acknowledge the need for this school and the desperate need in Breslau for a proper library and accompanying services, I strongly disagree with your chosen location or the way this project has been handled. Several years ago my family built a new home in Breslau and we selected a new lot based on the characteristic that the lot backed onto open green space. This cost me a $5000 premium added to my purchase price. I did not pay $5000 to the builder so that I can look at a school building, do you plan on providing me a refund?”
The Waterloo Catholic District School Board and the township have suggested a partnership to build a school in the park (which would be two storeys high and hold 250 students) as well as a new community library. Residents whose land backs onto Breslau Memorial Park say they don’t want to see changes to the land.
Woolwich Township Mayor, Sandy Shantz spoke to us earlier about the situation:
“The benefit of having the school there will be that those funds (from the school board) will be reinvested into the park and the local community, rather than to a developer. The property is about 19.5 acres – the school would only take up about 2 per cent of the land, there will still be acres left of the park. I understand that change is difficult, and as Mayor, I have been responding to the requests and concerns as they come in. We did come to the community quite early with this proposal and it is still early in the process, it is not a ‘done deal.’ The next step is more public consultation, which is happening through social media and e-mail. On February 26th, there will be a public meeting where township staff, school board and library members will be present.”