A proposed and much-needed new elementary school in south Georgetown to deal with an expected rush of school-aged kids is in jeopardy of not opening in 2007. Halton District School Board trustees were told by staff at a special board meeting Wednesday night that the preferred site, east of Mountainview Road--- in an area of a proposed residential development-- won't have the necessary servicing, notably a pumping station, in place for the September 2007 opening for a school. Gerry Cullen, the board's superintendent of facility services, said it's "highly unlikely" the hook ups will be ready in time for the new school. "We should be informing the community this is beyond us at this point," he said. Trustees unanimously, albeit, reluctantly passed a recommendation not to build a proposed 650-student, $8-9 million school on the parcel of land east of Mountainview Road not go forward. At the same time, the recommendation included consulting with the public to get feedback as to whether a school should be built on another site, possibly to open in 2007.
Halton Hills Trustee Ethel Gardiner, who has been vocal about schools being needed in growing Georgetown, expressed to the board the community's regret. "This is a huge disappointment," she said, wondering about the impact the delay of another school might have on Silver Creek Public School, before the recommendation was approved. "This was a school to be built in 2006, 2007 and now it's 2008." "Full and complete consultation" with the public will be key as the community provides its input as to how to move forward to deal with a burgeoning population and providing the necessary school space. Oakville Trustee Bruce Jones expressed frustration at the lack of the hook ups. "Don't tell me you can't put (in) a
pumping station-- I'm sorry, I don't buy it," he said. Gardiner said she "strongly disagrees" with delaying building a school, but the board's hands appeared to be tied. "It is very clear that site (east of Mountainview Road) is not going to be ready." Cullen said in an interview after the meeting the site east of Mountainview Road is the preferred site and that delaying the school for one year, to be built in 2008, would make sense because that site would yield an appropriate, or equitable, number of students. The assumption is the hook ups would be ready by then. A decision will be come before the end of year, he said. "We think long-term that is the best solution." It's too early to say what school the kids would attend in 2007 if a new school isn't built, Elaine Westerhof, the board's planning manager, said in a later interview. Gardiner said after the meeting she hopes to meet with the public in April. "I'm just hoping we can come to some satisfactory solution where all kids will be served well." Another elementary school is planned for west of Mountainview Road as early as 2010.