Connaught Heights Elementary Community Petition
We, the undersigned, OPPOSE the proposed closure of Connaught Heights Elementary on the following grounds: (1) The possibility of closing the school did not come up at school board consultation meetings held in February of this year. School closure only came up in the special meeting held on April 8, thus the parent community here has had very little time to react. (2) The student body of Connaught, even at K-5 levels, cannot easily be accommodated by the Tweedsmuir facility. The Tweedsmuir building has the worst seismic rating on the west side and is in need of upgrading. (3) The loss of the Connaught Heights facility will impoverish the community of residents west of 20th, as it is the ONLY amenity in the area. Connaught is not only a school but a preschool and a location for afterschool programs. West End residents lack a community centre, and the school effectively functions as a community center as well as a school. (4) The location of Connaught Heights is quiet and safe, well removed from busy streets. The grounds include a gravel field, hockey box, and proximity to a treed park, all of which are used by the whole community. Most of the students walk to school and the grounds become an informal meeting place for the community residents every day. (5) The portion of New Westminster west of 20th is sure to lose its appeal as a destination for young families, negatively affecting the attractiveness of living in the area. The net result may be less people moving to the city and a decrease in New Westminster's school population as a whole.