The Mount Royal Community Association (MRCA) hosted a meeting on July 23rd allowing the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) to discuss the installation of modular classrooms at Earl Grey School for the displaced Elbow Park School students. The MRCA and the community residents wanted a clearer understanding of the CBE’s decision and its’ rational. Regrettably, the CBE did not consult with the MRCA prior to their decision. The MRCA only became aware of the relocation of Elbow Park School through news reports and a group of concerned residents who went to the media after the relocation decision had clearly been made. The CBE has apologized several times for this oversight, particularly because it resulted in a strong reaction from the Mount Royal community about being left out of the consultation process and decision, rather than an opposition to the decision itself.
There is a group of residents who oppose the CBE decision, many of whom live near Earl Grey school and are already dealing with excessive traffic and safety concerns. While the MRCA appreciates these matters being brought to our attention, the decision by some to pursue legal action against the CBE is their personal decision, and absolutely not that of the MRCA. For the past several days we have heard from many residents of Mount Royal who are anxious to assist Elbow Park residents and want to welcome their children to our community. We are confident that the community will continue to support any such initiatives. The reality is that time is of the essence and these children need a school by September.
Most community members have accepted the CBE’s explanation of why the Earl Grey site was chosen over other options. They realize that the situation is not ideal but, given the devastation that our city has faced, and continues to face, Mount Royal is supportive in assisting our neighbours in Elbow Park. Because of the dangerous level of pre-existing traffic and parking issues around Earl Grey school, the MRCA is insisting on involvement in the process going forward. We have requested that representatives from our Board be included in traffic, safety, and site preparation meetings with the City of Calgary and the CBE. We are also requesting confirmation that the modules remain for only a two year time frame, as assured by the CBE.
The MRCA is disheartened that our neighbours in Elbow Park have needlessly been subjected to any additional worry regarding their children. There is a misconception in the neighbouring communities, as well as in our own community, that the MRCA is involved in a movement to stop the portables. This has never been the case. Our job has been to listen to the concerns of the community and to then represent the majority. We have done that. Our focus going forward is to work with the CBE, the City of Calgary, our residents and our neighbours in Elbow Park to make the next two years a positive and safe experience for all of our children.