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Part of Sinclair Laird grounds on sale to private daycare

Create: 04/18/2016 - 21:07

The pending sale of a small section of the school grounds at Sinclair Laird Elementary on Wiseman Ave. to a local children’s daycare centre is raising the concerns of the parent of a former Sinclair Laird student.
EMSB spokesperson Mike Cohen confirmed this week to Nouvelles Parc Extension News that school board officials have been negotiating with the daycare operator who would like to build a facility on the Sinclair Laird grounds because there is a lack of space at the daycare’s current building on Jarry St.
Daycare needs room
“It is a private daycare, there is no more space for them in their building, and in order for them to keep their permit they need to stay in the Park Ex area,” Cohen said.
“They (Sinclair Laird) have a very large school yard that belongs to the board and they want to build a facility there. There are discussions going on right now and it basically has to be approved by the (Sinclair Laird) governing board. So the governing board is looking at it right now and it’ll either be approved or it won’t be approved.”
Deros not aware
According to Cohen, 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. Responding to an e-mail asking whether she was aware part of the school grounds are up for sale, Parc Extension city councillor Mary Deros replied: “Information has not come to my level to date.”
Cohen suggested the daycare project could prove to be beneficial for all because the daycare operator might be able to obtain funding to build new soccer fields that Sinclair Laird might also be able to use. “There’s very little negatives attached to this,” he said, pointing out that a re-zoning won’t be necessary because the grounds are already designated for use by an education institution.
A concerned Parc Exer
Despite his enthusiasm, a Parc Ex resident contacted Nouvelles Parc Extension News to say she has serious concerns about the plan. In an e-mail Lesley Selwood, who lives a half-block from Sinclair Laird Elementary, wrote: “The EMSB plans to allow the building on our green space. It is my understanding that they feel that they are justified because the building will be for educational purposes.
“We are not talking about a daycare for low income families in the neighbourhood, this is a private Montessori daycare,” she continued. “As a parent and resident of the neighbourhood, I am insulted and shocked that anyone could think that using green space for a building is a good idea. We don’t see a supermarket in the middle of Jarry Park so why is this okay … This park is too important to the community to let go.”
‘Not enough green space’
In an interview, Selwood said: “Being a resident of the neighbourhood and knowing that my son went to that school and knowing that the park is used by the school and is also used by the residents who use it as a park nights and weekends, I just think it’s unacceptable to sell green space for a building when everybody is very concerned about the environment. There’s not enough green space in Parc Ex as it is. This is a very highly populated neighbourhood with all the apartment buildings.”

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Martin C. Barry