Ottawa-Carleton Catholic School Board Meeting, 13th of June 2000
By Quentin Bristow

Flyers had been dropped around the neighbourhood of the Immaculate Heart of Mary School suggesting that local residents who felt that their property values might be affected by the closing, should attend the board meeting. Apparently these were distributed by a group of concerned parents and did not originate from any official Board source.

The meeting convened around 8. 30 p.m. I had never been to an OCCSSB meeting in my life and it was actually a good experience. The meetings provide for a 'Ratepayers Gallery', where the general public can observe the proceedings and make a five-minute presentation if they add their names to a speakers list beforehand.

There were a number of well-reasoned presentations from a number of people. Their main points were:

The Trustees listened attentively to the speakers and asked a number of questions.

Clearly school closures are emotionally charged issues. Trying to second-guess the constantly changing demographics in a too-fast growing city like this one, is next to impossible. In my view it is yet another reason for setting limits to the size of a relatively affluent city like Ottawa, where the incumbent population will benefit little from the addtion of new jobs and investment, but will have its quality of life slowly eroded by increased traffic congestion , pollution and noise.

Add to that the very problem we are considering here, the constant uncertainty that fast growth creates about the viability of individual schools, hospitals and other public facitlities, with the attendant necessity to have these disruptive changes of direction every few years.