Six In The Morning: Drinking Laws, A Potential Canadian Pope And North Korea Continues To Make Headlines

Six!1 YOUNG WILD AND UNDERAGE Looks like the province won’t be lowering the drinking age, to many high school seniors’ disappointment.

2 THE BATTLE IS BREWING Over the weekend, parents and Cathedral area community activists formed the group, ‘Save Our Connaught’. They are fighting back against last week’s decision, handed down by the school board, to rebuild Connaught School.

3 THE CHOSEN ONE The next pope could be a Canadian. How about that? He has a long history of dealing with sexual assault issues in the Catholic Church and working with victims.

4 SAD TIMES IN JOURNALISM Canada’s largest daily newspaper is cutting 55 jobs and is considering outsourcing layout production work. Booooooo!

5 BRING ON THE POVERTY! That’s what the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food said Canada is doing by scrapping the long form census and negotiating a free trade deal with Europe. The diplomat released his report on Canada yesterday and it isn’t pretty.

6 PULLING OUT North Korea is vowing to cancel the 1953 Korean War armistice because it is still mad at the United States and South Korea.

24 thoughts on “Six In The Morning: Drinking Laws, A Potential Canadian Pope And North Korea Continues To Make Headlines”

  1. In a time of fiscal restraint it will be difficult, if not impossible, to convince anybody to spend more money on a project if there is a cheaper, viable alternative. In this case, the rebuild is much cheaper (approx. $7 million) than the renovation. Good luck, but wowsers you’ll need it. Perhaps focus on having a real impact on consultations for the new school instead? Not all new constructions are monstrosities, see Winston Knoll school, and you can have a cool, retro vibe with actual modern building standards in place.

    BTW, anyone asked the people most directly involved what they want? Pretty sure the teachers would go with the new school, but I imagine the kids would want a new, updated school, not a breaking-down-yet-historical building.

  2. Well said, Bronymous. I note that there is much more concern being expressed for the building, heritage, Cathedral character, etc., than for the students, not to mention the taxpayer.

  3. Barb: You’re seeing a pretty truncated version of the concerns being expressed by the parents here. I can assure you the needs of the kids are front and centre.

    Among things that maybe haven’t received the attention they deserve: that the school may not remain in its current location and wind up at some yet-to-be-determined location. And it’s hard for many to imagine how the school will remain in the heart of the community when space is at such a premium in Cathedral. For many — myself included — moving Connaught to the fringe of the community could be a problem as it’ll make it less likely that our kids will be able to walk there. I actually think having schools within a walkable distance from where the students live is important for promoting health. But apparently that’s an insane concept for some people.

    Also a great deal of skepticism has been raised about the open-concept school thing that the board seems so enamoured of.

    And personally, I share that skepticism. I don’t think cheaping out on the number of walls you put in a school is going to up the graduation rate. And, I think all this “architecture conducive to the creative age” stuff the consultants have been peddling is a pile of TED-inspired horse shit. I’m rather concerned all this hogwash is going to do more harm than good.

    And I think all of this is ultimately a dodge by the province. We’re in this position because the board has been given insufficient funds to properly invest in capital maintenance. And that isn’t going to change after the new school is built. In 40 or 50 years we’re going to be back here, considering the demolition of Connaught 2.0 because the board’s run it into the ground too. Building disposable schools is a stupid way to do things.

    I don’t know… it seems obvious to me that what we need to do to help kids get more out of school is throw money at the problem. Big honking piles of money. Hire more teachers. Pay them more. Buy more books. Fix the schools. This “do more with less” philosophy we’ve been following for thirty years is the cause of the problem not the solution.

  4. Bronymous: Sorry. One last point. It’s funny how we’re in a boomtime when the province and city are selling an investment in a stadium but it’s a period of fiscal restraint when we’re looking at education.

    And, yes, I’m going to keep beating that dead horse because I fucking hate dead horses.

  5. From the LP article on Connaught:

    “He doesn’t want to see the 100-year-old building replaced with a new, more modern, glass structure.”

    That is a valid concern, but ‘new’ doesn’t have to mordern, glass structure. Look at that new building on Board between College and Broadway…if you put in something like that it would look entirely appropriate. Sorry I can’t find a good picture of that building to share.

    I agree with Bronymous…it is long odds to get that extra money from the SK government, so focusing on input to the rebuild might be more useful in the long run. That would also deal with Paul’s issue of moving the building.

  6. Paul: maybe I am seeing a “truncated” version of concerns, but that is the chord that is being harped on, on this blog, on the “Save Our Connaught” Facebook and wordpress sites, and in the MSM, so pardon me if I but echo what is being put out there.

    As to open-concept: it’s being forgotten, or deliberately glossed over, that there are still doors, and still means of enclosing spaces as needed, in more recent school designs. And as to @3, talk about horsesh!t and hogwash…

    As to proposed location, you and others are panicking about something that hasn’t happened and may never happen. Perhaps your concerns and energy should be focused on input into the rebuild. If the schoolyard belongs to the Board, no problem; that’s a prime relocation site, with the present site of the old building to be redeveloped into a playground/community park, as has always been in the plan for Douglas Park and Arcola Schools. If that land belongs to the City, they’re amenable to $1 sales, for a good reason. (The extent of property ownership varies from school to school. For some,it’s the whole block; for others, City property begins a few yards from the building.)

    “Building disposable schools is a stupid way to do things”. Indeed. Tell that to the builders who rapidly threw up the 1950s elementary schools with built-in roof, HVAC and floor problems, not to mention accessibility and security issues.

    Boards over the years, including the ones in the 1980s and 1990s which could be considered left-of-centre, have opted to put resources into the classrooms in preference to the buildings. If you’re going to accuse Trustees of running schools into the ground, be sure you start far enough back in history, and try hard not to be partisan. As to inadequate provincial government funding for capital maintenance of schools, ditto, more than 30 years.

    With all due respect, your analysis of how to help students is altogether too narrow; it presupposes that school can solve all social issues.

  7. Brononymous: the cheapest of two fiscally irresponsible choices is not necessarily fiscally responsible. From the article: “Dumont believes there are other options that haven’t been explored.” We haven’t seen an option for a rehabilitation without a major renovation, which I would expect to be significantly less expensive than a complete rebuild.

  8. a rebuild.

    Paul – I also agree and have stated before the stadium was a head-scratcher. Likely more was going on behind the scenes than we know about. But because one financially questionable move was made doesn’t mean lets keep repeating that. Invest the money properly (who says it has to be a crappy, disposable school? Just because it’s new? What logic is that?), and locate funds saved to other needed areas in education. Don’t blow your wad on nostalgia.

  9. a rebuild.

    Paul – I assume your comment on all new constructions are monstrosities was tongue in cheek.

    I also agree and have stated before the stadium was a head-scratcher. Likely more was going on behind the scenes than we know about. But because one financially questionable move was made doesn’t mean lets keep repeating that. Invest the money properly (who says it has to be a crappy, disposable school? Just because it’s new? What logic is that?), and locate funds saved to other needed areas in education. Don’t blow your wad on nostalgia.

  10. Something messed up there.

    Meant to say to Brad that I agree other options should be at least made public, but the only two realistic, long-term fixes are likely rebuild or renovate. You could do a quick fix, but if it’s only good for 10 years what’s the point?

  11. “Building disposable schools is a stupid way to do things”. Indeed. Tell that to the builders who rapidly threw up the 1950s elementary schools with built-in roof, HVAC and floor problems, not to mention accessibility and security issues.

    Yes. This. I agree with this x1000.

    your analysis of how to help students is altogether too narrow; it presupposes that school can solve all social issues.

    No. But I do think good teachers can solve several of them.

    I have a whole laundry list of public priorities that I think, if invested in enthusiastically, could go a long way to solving our social ills. I write about them all the time. Housing. Rec facilities that aren’t stadiums for professional football teams. Healthcare. Daycare. Libraries. Bookstores. Movie theatres. Decent coffee shops. But schools were the subject of discussion here.

    I’m hurt you’d accuse me of being narrow when I was merely trying to stay on topic.

    I had more but I’m being called away.

  12. @11: You’ve simply added a third horn to what I consider to be a false dilemma (making it the rarely sighted trilemma). From my understanding, the proposed renovation is not simply a long-term repair: it is a complete overhaul of the functional usage of the space. Between the 10-year quick-fix and the gutting of a (still by necessity repaired) outer shell, surely there can exist some room for a long-term structural repair while maintaining the longstanding functionality of the school.
    There may be a good reason to rebuild rather than perform a simple repair (for all I know, provincial funding may be more likely for a rebuild than a repair, for example). Unfortunately, I haven’t heard anything like a convincing argument from the School Board, let alone a slam-dunk argument to justify voting down a motion to suspend consideration of the decision until more information/consultation is available.

  13. Hey, Paul, don’t be hurt: I did say “With all due respect”. And while we were discussing schools, the elephant(s) in the room was implied, so my point was well taken.
    @8: I can’t believe you’re serious about a patch job.
    @12: Your last 3 public priorities actually fall into the realm of private enterprise.

  14. @13: Our comments crossed in the mail. “Simple repair”? Not with a major foundation problem, there isn’t.

  15. @15: Simple is a relative term. The original engineering report estimated the cost to repair the structural deficiencies of the school at $6.25 million, a fraction of the cost of the proposed renovation.

    “Well, sir, looks like we need to replace your transmission. And you have a bit of rust on your rear fenders. By the time you convert to a hybrid engine and install the heated leather seats, well, obviously you should just buy a new car. It’s the fiscally responsible choice!”

  16. @16: The report also noted that the cost could rise once the actual condition of the footings and of other structures such as the attic slab were ascertained, did it not?

  17. To move the school’s “permanent” location sounds like a bad idea, but really don’t know how many kids there in the Cathood (r)2013.

    I’d like to see a Combination of new & old.

    Why not just Repurpose as much of the old structure as possible?

  18. Further to the Save Our Connaught Facebook site: it is being used to spread the view that the proposed rebuild is all part of a conspiracy on the part of successive public school boards to “get” Connaught. This is untrue, and is not likely to increase the group’s credibility.

  19. Everybody caught the bit where the company that did the report condemning Connaught to the wrecking ball will also be allowed to bid on the contract to design and build the new building, right? Even if you don’t think that makes the report suspect, you have to admit that the optics on that are not good.

    To remedy this, my idea would be to get a second opinion from a company that specializes in heritage renovations who would also be able to bid on any potential restoration. If they came back and said, “Even though it’s against our self interest to say this, but Connaught can’t be saved,” well, that would convince me.

    As it stands, I’ll always have this niggling suspicion that just maybe the building didn’t need to be bulldozed.

  20. Bronymous #10: Actually, I was kidding on the square.

    I confess there are lots of modern examples of what I’d consider capable architecture.

    But I’d say for the most part the field is corrupt and anti-human. Gotta watch those guys like a hawk or they’ll build you a machine shop for your elementary school, a glass ziggurat for your library, a lightsaber park for your plaza.

    They’re shifty and I don’t trust ’em.

  21. Barb @14, re: my comments @12: I was hoping someone would bring that up!

    Actually, while I agree that bookstores, movie theatres and coffee shops should be owned and operated by the private sector — anyone who’s dined at an old-school government cafeteria knows public sector employees can’t brew a cup of coffee to save their jobs — these are amenities so important to the well-being of citizens that the public sector absolutely needs to foster their success and propagation.

    And I assure you, I’m not just saying this because I like bookstores, movie theatres and coffee shops.

    I’d recommend preferential zoning on choice downtown lots and tax breaks, lots of tax breaks. Government grants should be made available as well as long-term, province-backed, low-interest loans.

    The city and province have just made available hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds to support the construction and maintenance of a facility out of which a private corporation can run their football operation, all because people seem to enjoy football entertainments.

    Considering how many MORE people like coffee, books and movies, it just makes sense — it’s good fiscal management — to do something similar for cafes, bookstores and movie theatres.

    For far less than half a billion dollars we’d be able to turn Regina into a coffee/movie/literature mecca that’s the envy of the Western world. And if we spend our money wisely, the scones might be pretty good too.

  22. @23: The problem with your no doubt well-considered argument is that tax breaks and preferential treatment for certain businesses have already caused problems, both ethical and financial, here and elsewhere. Just because these interventions might benefit something you like, doesn’t make it right. In fact, your use of the stadium situation is akin to saying that two wrongs make a right. Nope. You’re also not considering the facts that, what with film and music downloading, e-books, etc., theatres and bookstores (we can’t even talk about music stores) are finding it harder and harder to scrape along. I regret and deplore that as much as you do, but the people are voting with their feet – and their apps, and it would be a foolish government indeed that threw its money – our money – into subsidies for a dying business.

Comments are closed.