On Monday January 29, 2018 at the Simcoe County District School Board office, a funding announcement was made which included funding for a new Wasaga Beach elementary school.
This is exciting news! This new school will alleviate current pressures on our existing elementary schools as well as prepare for future growth in our community.
I see the addition of this school as a stepping stone in the process which will one day contribute to a viable business plan in support of building a needed secondary school in Wasaga Beach for our children.
In my opinion, while this should have been a very positive day for all, there was the typical “of this term of council” black cloud surrounding it.
You will note that the School Board release and the Town release differ in some messaging. The SCDSB media release did not make mention of a secondary school site land purchase, but the town’s did.
It is my understanding that the Town’s CAO as well as the town’s communication department did not have the opportunity to review a letter received by the Minister prior to creating the town’s media release on this matter. They would have had to take the word of others on some of the details regarding a potential land acquisition.
I have included a link to the Ministry of Education’s letter and will leave it to you to read. To the best of my knowledge the letter had not been made public at the time of the town’s media release, but since has been.
I was very disappointed that notice of this funding announcement was shared selectively and not inclusive of all.
It is my understanding that Mayor Smith received notice on Friday January 26, 2018. However, this exciting news was not shared with all of council.
I received a call Sunday night from a contact outside of the town to advise of the funding announcement the following day (Monday) as they assumed the information would not have been shared with me. I appreciated the heads up and invite to attend.
I attended the School Board office shortly after 11am on January 29, 2018. Not long after that the town’s communication officer Mike, a member of the High School Task Force Lorraine, Mayor Smith, Councillor Belanger and Joe Bickerstaff from Beach Booster arrived.
I don’t believe any of them expected me to be in the room.
Positive events like this should have been shared with all of council as well as all members of the High School Task Force so we could attend and show our support to the Ministry and School Board for this fantastic news.
Why Councillor Belanger was made aware of this announcement and in attendance and not Councillor Sylvia Bray who is the Town Council Representative on the High School Task Force Committee is beyond me.
Why Joe Bickerstaff was advised of the announcement and in attendance but not our local reporter Ian Adams from The Sun is unacceptable.
I share this with you because I believe lines have been drawn, teams were picked long ago and tactics are being used to make some of us look bad. I have been accused of not showing up to events. Well now you may have an understanding as to why.
It is my opinion that collaborative, respectful, democratic and inclusionary leadership instills confidence within the community, staff, council as well as other boards and ministries that we deal with. I have had the pleasure of experiencing this type of leadership in past council terms. I miss those days and look forward to their return.
Now let’s get back to celebrating this wonderful facility that is coming to our community!!