Andre Piolat Festival du Printemps

Ecole Andre Piolat (Kings at Mahon) will be holding their annual spring festival on Saturday, May 12th this year. It’s a fun kid-friendly event, open to the community, and way cheaper than going to France for a day!

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School District Recommendations for Balmoral

The School District has now published the agenda package for the public meeting on April 24th at Sutherland, 7PM. They are recommending a motion to accept the following recommendations (paraphrased):

  • The Community Learning Program should establish communications with the community.
  • Storage and distribtution (District Services) of instructional resources for all schools and students should be moved to Balmoral.
  • Adult English Second Language Program should not move to Balmoral.
  • Classroom space at Balmoral will be reserved for future community or School District needs.
  • The North Vancouver Recreation Commission, needs to identify the needs and interests of the community before there should be further consideration of Rec Commission use of the gym and multi-purpose room.
  • The renovation project should include at least 65 on-site parking spaces
  • The Board of Education should continue to work with the District of North Vancouver regarding traffic and parking concerns.

The trustees are scheduled to vote on these recommendations at 8:45, although it will probably not happen exactly on time. Within these recommendations, there is much to celebrate. In particular, there appears to be adequate parking planned for the CLP, and the Adult ESL will not be turning our neighborhood into a parking lot. On the other hand, it is unclear from the recommendation what is to happen to the distance learning program, which carries with it a further traffic and parking conundrum. So your continued input is still valued.

Come out tomorrow and have your voice heard.

Upcoming Meetings Regarding our Schools

Schools are vital to our community. Without schools, we will have no families in our neighborhood. Without families, and the interactions through kids’ activities, one of the primary catalysts for meeting people falls away. When you know nobody in your community, there is no community. Then we see tumbling services, lower home values, the end of life as we know it.

So, even if you have no children of school age, you should be very interested in what happens in the North Vancouver School District. In particular, you should be very interested when the NVSD tries to make a case that they should sell off their properties.

Selling off school land is akin to a farmer selling off acreage to buy seeds for next year. Only a farmer in terminal decline would do this, and only a community in terminal decline should sell of their schools.

I don’t believe that North Vancouver is in terminal decline, and that’s why we need to fight the school district’s inclination to take the easiest path to balancing their books.

On Wednesday the 25th, at Ridgeway Public School from 4 ’til 8PM, the school district will be presenting its plans for dealing with the following “excess property:” Blueridge, Cloverley, Fromme, Keith Lynn, Lonsdale Creek Annex, Lucas Centre/Leo Marshall Curriculum Centre, Maplewood, Monteray, Plymouth, Ridgeway and Westover. While none of these impacts Delbrook directly, if you value your quality of life on the North Shore, you will come out and support our schools.

That is, of course, the day after the School District trustees vote on the money for renovations to Balmoral. That meeting is at 7 PM on Tuesday, April 24th, at Sutherland School Theatre. I see the agenda is not on the NVSD website yet.

Federation of North Vancouver Community Associations Meeting Tonight

The Federation of North Vancouver Community Associations met again this evening. Sadly more than three quarters of the agenda was taken up with procedural navel gazing caused by a community representative who wasn’t even there! So, there is not much to write about that would interest anyone.

  • Polygon will be holding an open house regarding their Lower Lonsdale developments tomorrow (April 19) at the Seymour Golf and Country Club. Sadly, it’s not on the Polygon website, and so, I’m not able to give any further information.
  • Corrie Kost points out that you can estimate your current power consumption using the new smart meters by counting the number of pulses in 36 seconds and dividing by 10. The result is the current consumption in kilowatts. For example, 50 pulses in 36 seconds means you’re consuming 5 kilowatts.
  • A recent presentation about solid waste by the District foretold a coming ban on all bear attractants. Given that fruit trees and barbecues are well-known bear attractants, does that mean the District will be banning all fruit trees and barbeques? Let’s ban bears instead.
  • Community policing is definitely on the back burner. All branches in North Vancouver have apparently closed
  • East Seymour CA reports that North Vancouver Local Area Plans are no longer in force since the adoption of the Official Community Plan. However, while the detailed plans within the OCP are being sorted out, they will continue to refer to the local plans to inform detailed decisions. Having said that, various community associations have indicated that council is not listening to the recommendations of Local Area Plan review committees anyway.
  • The Natural Hazards Policy no longer requires fire preventive roofs within 100 m of random clumps of trees, only near forest boundary

Curbside Composting Coming

Get ready to separate your kitchen scraps. Starting the week of May 1 you will be able to put just about any food scraps, including meat (!) into your garden waste bin.

This is all part of Metro Vancouver’s push to reduce the amount of garbage we truck up to Cache Creek. Instead, organic waste will be composted and returned to topsoil.

Composting is green. Composting in your back yard is greener still. But if you do compost in your back yard, keep the meat, dairy and cooked food out; we have enough bears in Delbrook as it is.

Get more info from north shore recycling.

Balmoral Presentation Tonight

As you know, The North Vancouver School District #44 formed a Community Advisory Working Group (CAWG) to consider the impact of the school board’s proposed relocation of programs from Lucas Centre to Balmoral. Of the 21 individuals appointed to the CAWG, only five were local community residents who also represented the Delbrook and the Norwood Queens Community Associations.

The report of the CAWG only came out late last week, and you can find it here: http://www.nvsd44.bc.ca/en/sitecore/content/Updates/CommunityLearningProgram.aspx.
Unfortunately, after 3 lengthy CAWG meetings, the summary report distributed by the NVSD has distorted the discussion points, made recommendations that weren’t discussed, stated agreement where there was none and did not include our position statement (“our” being the people who live in the Community) as part of the report as they said they would.

This evening (April 10), the school board will be presenting the results of their community engagement process at Balmoral from 7PM. You should be there, and you should bring your car. We want the school board and the district representatives who will be there to see the parking impact of 200 or so cars in our neighborhood. In fact, if you live near Balmoral, please park in the street this evening, rather than on your driveway.

Community Advisory Working Group on Balmoral

Recall that the North Vancouver School District called the Community Advisory Working Group (CAWG) to fulfill their requirement for public consultation on Balmoral.  The CAWG is composed of some twenty members, six of whom are from the neighboring community.  The position below is that of the six members of neighboring community associations, with input from many others throughout the community.  Because of the composition of the CAWG, it may differ materially from the position of the committee as a whole.

Community Learning Program

We believe that it would be better to construct a new purpose-built school for the Community Learning Program (CLP) rather than spending $2.5 Million to renovate Balmoral.  However, we are in general support of the decision to locate the CLP to the site, subject to the following conditions:

  1. Only support services directly involved with the CLP should be active in the building, with office and meeting spaces made available to these support services of a shared flex-space nature;
  2. Distributed Learning (DL) program support (e.g., exams, and tutorials) should be offered to CLP and out-of-district grade 8 to 12 students only, consistent with the “distributed” delivery model adopted by the NVSD – where DL program support is provided at each of the secondary schools in the District.

Adult Continuing Education & Adult Distributed Learning

Our primary concern with relocating the adult Continuing Education (CE) and adult Distributed Learning (DL) programs to the Balmoral campus is the impact on traffic and parking in our community.  The traffic study commissioned by the NVSD shows the number of trips per student will be double that expected for a high school,  The 150 vehicles associated with the adult learners will spill out onto the streets.  Our neighbourhood is not configured to handle the traffic and on-street parking required by the adult programs. The relocation of those programs to Balmoral will have a profoundly negative impact on our community.

If the Board makes a unilateral decision to operate adult CE and DL programs at Balmoral, our community must not assume more of a burden than other secondary schools. The adult programs should be distributed across all secondary schools and offered in the evenings.

Further, the NVSD must ensure there is sufficient onsite parking for all staff and adult learners, and not rely on on-street parking within the community to meet the deficiency.

In the absence of a policy that ensures proportional distribution of programs across North Vancouver, there should be no adult CE or DL programs offered at Balmoral. The associated traffic and, in particular, the lack of on-site parking and the impact of on-street parking demands associated with the adult programs is unacceptable to the community.

Recreation Commission: Programs and Revenue Generation

Balmoral School should not be used for Recreation Commission programs or any other revenue generating activities.  In particular, there should be no leasing or contract rental of existing classroom space, unless such a program is adopted for all high schools in the NVSD.  Singling out Balmoral because of its configuration is not acceptable to our community, nor is use of Balmoral as a “pilot” school.

Ancillary Services

There should be no ancillary uses of Balmoral (e.g. office space for NVSD staff, community services workers, District psychologists, etc.) who are not directly and actively involved in supporting the CLP.  Such use increases traffic and the number of parking spaces required and increases the likelihood of increased on-street parking demands.

District Services

We believe that the use of classroom space for District Services is fundamentally inappropriate.  Should this proceed at Balmoral the use must ensure:

  1. Service levels at Balmoral do not exceed those currently prevailing at Lucas Centre – a maximum of five (5) staff and associated onsite parking requirements (as committed to in the CAWG meeting);
  2. Use is restricted to books, and science supplies;
  3. No changes are made to the building that would prevent the space appropriated from being readily returned to the existing classroom purpose.

CAWG Recommendations Endorsement & Parking

As community members, we will only endorse the recommendations of the Community Advisory Working Group concerning the re-location of CLP, DL and School District services at Balmoral if the above conditions are met and provisions are made for a minimum of 66 onsite parking spaces that conform to the District of North Vancouver Parking Bylaws.