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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  News Port Stanley Public School Pupil Accommodation Review Position


by Doug Harvey
Port Stanley Public School Pupil Accommodation Review Position

The Corporation of the Municipality of Central Elgin

Regular Meeting Of Council On Monday, February 27th, 2017


Moved by Harold Winkworth and seconded by Sally Martyn that Council approve the following Addendum to the Agenda for the Regular Meeting of Monday, February 27th, 2017 being Bylaw 2126 Heritage Conservation Easement Agreement respecting address 194 Main Street. Carried.

Roll Call - Stephen Carr and Dan McNeil were absent.

Disclosure of Pecuniary Interest and the General Nature Thereof

Fiona Roberts reported she was a Port Stanley Legion member which refers to Correspondence (Action) item #2 - Liquor Licence Extension for Port Stanley Legion.


1. Pupil Accommodation Review - Amy Smith, representing New Sarum Public School, was in attendance respecting EPAR-01. This is the tkird time that Amy Smith has come before Council looking for support to keep the New Sarum Public School open. She spoke about the fact that the New Sarum Public School is at 97% capacity with a stable projection for the future. With the Board stating that by closing and consolidating schools, somehow provides increased opportunities for students, and was looking to the board to provide evidence to support this decision that will take New Sarum students and split them up into four different schools. But the Board, when asked, could not offer any evidence to support that claim of increased opportunities.

When it comes to quality of education, the New Sarum Public School has extremely good EQAO Scores which translates into an educational program for students above par. The school has strong parent engagement levels which leads to a higher overall standard of school for children. There is also a healthy extracurectculiar program that the children actually participate in. The School Facility Condition is good, comparable or higher than the board standard, and renewal costs compare to other schools that will remain open. The root cause of these closures and consolidations of rural schools is the funding formula in place by the Minister of Education that promotes the construction of new schools.

Amy Smith also questioned the board projections for the justification of building a new Southeast St. Thomas elementary school by showing that Elgin Court in St. Thomas has currently 146 empty student spaces available, and those spaces won't be required for ten to fifteen years. Mitchell Hepburn enrolment pressures were also cited as a reason for a new school, but with the boards projections showing a decline in Mitchell Hepburn enrolment after 2018, the reasons become unclear. It makes better business sense to hold off on the construction of a new $13,000,000 St. Thomas school when there are so many empty student spaces available by amending the current holding zones.

The plan to close schools in Elgin County saves a proposed $413,000 in the board's operational budget, but excludes the $27,000,000 to build the proposed two new schools. It is clear that the decision to close schools is economically driven with no increased educational opportunity demonstrated for students, and argue that when the given economic benefits are so slight, and the overall disruption to children is so great, the wellbeing and academic achievement of our children must take precedent.

Council thanked Amy Smith for the informative presentations, but any kind of specific support for the New Sarum school would have to wait until the Port Stanley school presented it's position on the current Pupil Accommodation Review.

2. Pupil Accommodation Review - Janet Palmer, representing Port Stanley Public School, was in attendance respecting EPAR 01. Janet Palmer started her presentation with two videos created by Port Stanley students on the benefits of having a school in Port Stanley. For ten years we have been waiting for a long-term solution for Port Stanley Public School. Time and time again we have been reassured of our value to the Thames Valley District School Board. These reassurances have not helped in giving our residents the faith they need in our schools viability, which has resulted in parents choosing French or Catholic education, rather than chancing their child's upheaval, should the school close due to low enrolment.

While our students have greatly benefitted from some aspects of a small student body, ie continuity of peer groups, greater individual attention, talent shows, daily perks such as hot breakfast, it comes at a price. Our students have not had the opportunities to compete in school sports, band, or spring plays.

In addition, there are social implications with a school the size of Port Stanley. Some grades have as few as 8 students which in the case of our grade 6 class last year, these 8 students comprised of 7 boys and only 1 girl. While its true that they are like a family, most students require a larger pool of peers to be happy and mature socially.

She said that the best thing we could do for our school and our community is to bring all the Sparta kids to Port Stanley. We have some activities unique to Port Stanley, such as an Artist Collaboration workshop where local Artists teach Art using different mediums. With tremendous community support and generous donations, we were able to install new playground equipment last Spring, and without this support, it would have never happened.

We are very grateful to the planning committee for providing our students, and community, with a stable long-term solution. Our Village needed official support to give parents faith and longevity of our community school and give them confidence in enrolling their children here.

Port Stanley Public School is eager to benefit from the educational opportunities and benefits to learning that can be offered by an increase in school size and therefore does not support a delay to moving ahead with the closing of Sparta and moving those students to Port Stanley. Nor do we support an ongoing dual track French Immersion.

Some of the reasons to have Sparta Public School accommodated at Port Stanley Public School include:

Criteria Sparta Port Stanley
Size of School Grounds (acres) 4.94 7.41
Size of School Building (sq.ft.) 26,974 34,627
Current Facility Condition Index 65% 67%
Aligns with future residential growth No Yes
Is supplied with Municipal Water No Yes
Has Municipal Waste Management No Yes
Current OTG Capacity 305 317 355 with proposed addition
Can accommodate student amalgamation without portables? No, would require 2 immediately Yes

Sparta's gym is not optimal for physical education classes and team or intermural sports. At 2,534 square feet, Sparta's gym is 2/3 the size compared to Port Stanley's 3,782 square feet.

Sparta's volleyball coach has used Port Stanley's gym for practices in preparation for games and tournaments as their gym is not regulation size.

Port Stanley's access to municipal water and sewage offer many advantages to both potential housing growth and ability to add on to Port Stanley Public School. From what we understand, our town sewer system is getting a 15-million-dollar upgrade and there are currently 230 homes in development.

Sparta's capacity of 305 pupil spaces is not sufficient to house the projected populations of the two schools to the anticipated enrolment of 358 in 2025. Given the lack of municipal services, an addition to Sparta School to support increased student spaces may be prohibitive. The proposed addition of classrooms and a learning commons to Port Stanley will support the projected student enrolment without encroaching on our incredible green space.

We have experience in making a transition work effectively. This past fall Port Stanley Public School welcomed 148 French Immersion students to our school. The credit goes to our students, teachers, staff, and administration who worked hard and listened to concerns expressed by students and parents. They provided the support system to improve and ease the transition. While it has gone well, and we will miss the French Immersion community, we look forward to welcoming new students to our school who will enrich every grade and every classroom.

We understand how difficult change can be. We feel confident that if we can make it work between two very diverse student groups, we can work through any challenges arising from the amalgamation of Port Stanley and Sparta Public School.

Finding a way for Council to support all the schools in Central Elgin was an exercise in frustration, to come up with the perfect combination of support for the new Belmont school, while supporting keeping the New Sarum, and Sparta schools open, while supporting growth for the Port Stanley school. A motion was finally put forward after a lengthy debate on the wording to try to satisfy all groups.

A motion moved by Sally Martyn and seconded by Harold Winkworth where as the current Accommodation Review Process is not reflective of the reality of rural schools and community life; Where as the EPAR 01 does not take into account all available capacity in accessing the need of a new St. Thomas School; Now therefore be it resolved that the Municipality of Central Elgin agrees that EPAR 01 should be broken into two reviews, one that supports the needs of a new Belmont School, and one that accesses the need for a new Southeast St. Thomas school; And that all Central Elgin closures be put on hold until such time as a complete boundary review is completed including St. Thomas and Southwold. The Motion was Carried with only Fiona Roberts opposed.

Correspondence (Action)

1. William Street & Edith Cavell Blvd. Intersection Correspondence received from Carol Parafenko respecting traffic calming for William Street & Edith Cavell Blvd. Intersection.

Correspondence from Carol Parafenko

There has been ongoing reconstruction of Edith Cavell and William streets taking place this winter in Port Stanley. I am writing to let you know that I am one person who actually appreciates the pot-holed filled corrugated intersection there because it has slowed traffic down considerably. Ever since that intersection has been deconstructed, there has been very little of the racing, tire-screeching, engine-revving redneck traffic up and down William Street that normally takes place all year round. The peace and quiet, careful driving and pedestrian safety have been amazing. While the roads are still dug up, please consider installing traffic calming measures around that intersection - specifically narrowing the road, speed humps, bike lanes, and/ or curb extensions.

I urge you to take advantage of this rare opportunity to provide greater safety for walkers and motorists at a key intersection in our community and take the load of traffic monitoring off the shoulders of local police.

Improvements there would attract more families with children who would feel safer walking up and down the streets around the beach. These people are the ones who spend money locally, cost us very little in policing and emergency services costs, and boost the economy.

A motion moved by Fiona Roberts and seconded by Dennis Crevits that Council direct staff to send correspondence to Carol Parafenko of Port Stanley thanking her for her submission regarding the Traffic Calming at the intersection of William Street and Edith Cavell Blvd. Carried.

2. Liquor Licence Extension Correspondence received from Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 410, Port Stanley, advising of dates for Liquor Licence Extension on their property at 310 George Street.

A motion moved by Sally Martyn and seconded by Dennis Crevits that the Council of the Corporation of the Municipality of Central Elgin has no objections to the request from the Royal Canadian Legion, Last Post, Branch 410, 310 George Street, Port Stanley seeking an extension to the existing licence area on the following dates attached to this resolution. Carried

Correspondence (for Council's Information) - The Motion that Correspondence for Council's Information Items #1, #3, #4, and #5 be received as information and filed was put forward by Dennis Crevits and seconded by Harold Winkworth, the Motion was Carried.

1. Elgin County Council - EPAR01 Copy of resolution passed by Elgin County Council regarding EPAR01.

2. Fire Department Infrastructure Copy of resolution received from the Township of Muskoka Lakes respecting Provincial Funding for Fire Department Infrastructure.

A motion moved by Dennis Crevits and seconded by Fiona Roberts that correspondence received from the Township of Muskoka Lakes respecting Provincial Funding for Fire Department Infrastructure be supported. Carried.

3. Port Stanley BIA Board of Management Copy of minutes of the Port Stanley BIA Board of Management meeting dated January 11, 2017.

4. Heritage Central Elgin Copy of minutes from Heritage Central Elgin meeting dated January 25, 2017.

5. Central Elgin Planning Office - 2017 Budget Correspondence received from Central Elgin Planning Office advising of Central Elgin's portion of the 2017 Budget.

6. Automated External Defibrillator (AED's) in Schools Email correspondence received from Municipality of Thames Centre respecting AED's in schools located in Thames Valley District School Board.

Mayor Marr asked Lloyd Perrin about the cost of an AED, the response was free through the Heart and Stroke Foundation. A motion moved by Sally Martyn and seconded by Harold Winkworth that correspondence received from Municipality of Thames Centre respecting AED's in schools located in Thames Valley District School Board be supported. Carried.



1. Special Events Committee - 2017 Great Waterfront Trail (Cycling Tour)

A motion moved by Fiona Roberts and seconded by Dennis Crevits that: The Council of the Corporation of the Municipality of Central Elgin approve the Special Events Permit for 2017 Great Waterfront Trail Adventure {Cycling Tour) scheduled for Tuesday, August 8th and Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 subject to the following conditions:

  • The organizers complying with the Special Events Policy as adopted by Council;
  • The execution of a rental agreement and payment of applicable fees for use of the Port Stanley Arena;
  • Liability Insurance be provided by the organizers of the event in the amount of $5,000,000.00 naming the Corporation of the Municipality of Central Elgin as co-insured and held harmless;
  • The final schedule and location of the event being approved by the Director of Physical Services and ;
  • Approval to camp one night (Tuesday, August 8) at Lions Landing, if necessary, subject to concurrence of current tenant, Port Stanley Lions Club.

Chief Administrative Officer

CAO 13.17 Public Sector Salary Disclosure - A motion moved by Sally Martyn and seconded by Harold Winkworth that the Council of the Corporation of the Municipality of Central Elgin receive Report CAO 13.17 Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act as information. Carried.

For 2016, the following employees of the Municipality of Central Elgin received remuneration of $100,000 or more:

Employee Position Wage or Salary Taxable Benefits
Harris, Karen Director of Financial Services $121,231.80 $1,035.88
Leitch, Donald Chief Administration Officer and Clerk $141,254.86 $1,212.73
Perrin, Lloyd Director of Physical Services $126,314.94 $1,211.59

Director of Physical Services

Director of Financial Services/Treasurer

DFS 05-17 St. Thomas Cemetery Company Loan - A motion moved by Dennis Crevits and seconded by Fiona Roberts that the Council of the Corporation of the Municipality of Central Elgin receive report DFS 05-17 as information; And Further That the Council of the Corporation of the Municipality of Central Elgin authorize staff to prepare a loan agreement with the St. Thomas Cemetery Company in the amount of $50,000 repayable over 10 years interest-free for equipment and services for Central Elgin's South Park Cemetery. Carried

Director of Fire Rescue Services/Fire Chief

FS 02-17 Monthly Alarm Activities Report - A motion moved by Sally Martyn and seconded by Fiona Roberts that the Council of the Corporation of the Municipality of Central Elgin receive report FS 02-17 Monthly Alarm Activities Report as information. Carried.


Moved by Dennis Crevits and Seconded by Fiona Roberts that by-laws 2123, 2124, 2125, and 2126 be taken collectively. No discussion followed, the Motions were read 1st, 2nd, and 3rd time and finally passed collectively.

By-law 2123 2017 BIA Budget

By-law 2124 Water/Wastewater Debt

By-law 2125 Confirmatory By-law

By-law 2126 Heritage Conservation Easement Agreement respecting 194 Main Street.

Public Notice


New Business

- Sally Martyn said that the User-Fee Committee met earlier this evening regarding the flat rate fee proposed by Port Stanley 55 Plus Club for use of Port Stanley Arena. A recommendation was made to follow the User Fee Guidelines that were approved earlier this year.

Unfinished Business

1. Yard Waste Report - costs for rural leaf pickup

2. Pickleball - Report on Options for Location/Venue

Closed Session

- Council went into Closed Session at 8:45 P.M.

CS1 A Proposed of Pending Acquisition or Disposition of Land (s.239(2) (c)) - Lease Agreement

CS2 Litigation or Potential Litigation (s.239(2)(e)) - Adjudication


Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2017 15:23:47 PM EST

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