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HomeNewsThe aftermath of SD54's 2nd Neighbourhood Learning Centre Consultation

The aftermath of SD54’s 2nd Neighbourhood Learning Centre Consultation

SD54 Secretary-Treasurer, Dave Margerm | Photo Courtesy: Taylor Chartrand

SD54 held their second round of consultations last night (July 3rd) for the Neighbourhood Learning Centre (NLC) that will be incorporated into the new Walnut Park Elementary School.

The Ministry of Education has allotted 486 square meters or $1.5 million dollars worth of space, to be dedicated to this NLC area.

Although the possibilities are endless, it’s all a bit of a pipe dream at this point.

After two consultations, it’s clear what the emerging themes are for this space.

People want an early childcare facility or daycare, an indoor recreation space, and some sort of venue that could serve the music and arts community better within Smithers.

Although all of these ideas are fine and dandy, there has been little input made by the community besides the 46 people have who have attended the previous 2 meetings, 3 of which were present for both consultations.

On top of input, there has also been little to no contact made from community partners about additional funding being brought forward.

The cool part about this project is the NLC space will be there regardless. If community members decide to provide funding to the final build, the NLC area could be something Smithers had never even dreamed of.

Both Superintendent Chris van der Mark and Secretary-Treasurer Dave Margerm were in attendance and said they simply do not want to duplicate any services that already exist within the community.

The problem now is, SD54 is on a time-crunch to develop a plan for the NLC space. They have until roughly December to complete a draft so contractors can begin building the school in spring of 2019.

The months leading up to the approval of the draft are crucial. If people decide to say nothing, they have zero room to complain when the build is implemented.

SD54 officials such as van der Mark and Margerm say their doors are always open. If you’ve got an idea or potential partnership that would align with the objectives of both the school and community, they want to hear from you ASAP.

Margerm says once the consultation period is complete, staff will compile all the information and file it to board trustees for their final approval.

SD54’s contact information can be found here.

The first NLC Consultation summary can be found here.

More on the announcement of the new Walnut Park Elementary School is just a click away here.

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