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Lack of local space leaves few alternatives, says Park Ex councillor

Create: 05/03/2016 - 01:39

A private children’s daycare that hopes to buy part of the Sinclair Laird School property to build a new daycare facility is forced to find a new location partly because of security reasons, says Park Extension city councillor Mary Deros.
Lack of space
As Nouvelles Parc Extension News revealed in its last issue, the EMSB has been negotiating with the daycare operator who would like to erect a new facility on the Sinclair Laird grounds because there is a lack of space at the daycare’s current site on Jarry St. at de l’Épée Ave.
In the meantime, the Borough of Villeray/St-Michel/Parc Extension has begun to take an interest in the issue. The Sinclair Laird grounds are designated as a “park school” in conjunction with the City of Montreal.
As such, it can be used after school hours by people from the neighbourhood. Although Deros said the dossier hasn’t reached the borough’s level yet, “I’m hearing bits and pieces here and there.”
Rail safety concern
According to Deros, an important part of the reason the daycare needs to relocate to the school grounds is that an alternative site the owners had chosen near Canadian Pacific’s rail line is no longer considered acceptable for safety reasons.
Deros said a building at the north-east corner of Jarry St. and Querbes Ave. which the daycare owners had previously purchased was judged inappropriate for a children’s daycare after the Lac Mégantic rail disaster three years ago.
“For security reasons we have been asked not to develop any institution that is too close to the train tracks,” she said. “They would be two blocks away from the train tracks but next to a bridge and it’s wide open, so if there was a derailment and an explosion of some sort you wouldn’t want children to be at risk.”
Loss of green space
In our last issue, one resident, Lesley Selwood, complained about the impending loss of green space. “This park is too important to the community to let go,” she told Nouvelles Parc Extension News. Should the EMSB reach a deal to sell part of the Sinclair Laird property, the borough hopes to work in conjunction with the school board to “maximize the green space and make sure they plant a lot of trees so that they will at least give something back to the community,” said Deros.
Deros also said that as part of an eventual deal with the EMSB, the daycare operator would agree to pay for two new soccer fields on the Sinclair Laird property. “They will build them for them on that green space so the children will be able to play,” she said. “It would be their way of giving back to the community for taking part of the space.”

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Martin C. Barry