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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hundreds attend ARC meeting in Hanover

Hanover | by Robyn Garvey  

The future of several schools came into the spotlight in Hanover.

Approximately 450 people attended last night's (TUES) 3.5 hour Accommodation Review Committee public forum in Hanover.

Hanover and Chesley schools' fates were up for discussion.

The gymnasium at John Diefenbaker Secondary was bursting with Chesley District High School colours and pride

The vast majority of those in attendance were from Chesley, many sporting the high school gold and black colours, with a passion to keep a secondary school in the community uniting them.

Many fear the loss of the school would not only have a negative impact on students but also have a detrimental impact on the local economy as well as the real estate market.

Meanwhile Hanover's silence on the issue is raising a few eyebrows.

Only a small minority of those in attendance were from Hanover, begging the question as to where Hanover residents stand on these issues.

Currently there are four options being considered, ranging from a JK to 12 school in Chesley to a consolidated Hanover/Chesley high school in a community yet to be announced.

In the end Dave Hocking of the Hanover ARC committee introduced the last option which involves a JK to 12 school in Chesley and the construction a new grade 4 to 12 school in Hanover while converting Hanover Heights into a primary school.

Hocking's suggestion seemed to strike a positive chord with many, being called the compromise -- the best of both worlds.

Meanwhile caution that programming may suffer in smaller schools struggling with enrolment numbers like Chesley District High School did very little to sway public opinion.

There are five schools involved in this ARC review including Hanover Heights, Dawnview Public and JDSS as well as Chesley District High School and Kinghurst elementary.

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