OPINION

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See Image 1 Legend below.

by Neil Menage

It is obvious that there are opportunities and concerns with the young family growth in the vicinity of Northport Elementary School. Sure it can be argued that this is a Board of Education owned problem.

The proposal is my opinion only and suggests that we, the community working with the Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) and the Municipality, could offer moves like this to benefit all. As a minimum let’s use this as a catalyst for other discussion and ideas.

Note: Waterloo Street traffic is about to increase as this road is connected (Collector road status) to Devonshire. Waterloo will be reconfigured at the current front of the school and cut close or across the tree and grass island currently delineating the school bus pick up and drop off area and behind to the west of Elgin Lodge. Mary Street is intended to tee at Waterloo with a full stop sign. (These plans are available at the town office)

This will impact the parking, the drop off area as well as the bus turn area, all currently in discussion with the Town and Board authorities.

The Municipality owns the land west of Northport including two ball diamonds and one abandoned soccer field as well as a large unused space close to Joseph and Bruce Street designated for recreational use. This either means the land should be developed at some time for recreation use or sold and the money used to develop recreation space.

Plans for family residential development includes many more new homes in this area of Saugeen Shores. In order to answer this growth the Board would either move students (suggested as a temporary fix only at this time), enlarge the school or build a new school in another location. The latter two suggestions would equate to a new build in the Board's policies.

My suggestion offers to build an expansion to Northport Elementary School by using some of the Municipal land.

Note: Many have coveted the idea that a land swap deal could be made whereby the Board increases their land at the school to the limits shown in the diagram and delineated by the orange coloured rectangle. The municipality in turn receives the soccer field property at the JH Robertson Park on Pierson Avenue, currently owned by the Board and maintained by the Municipality.

The remaining lands at Biener Park can be utilized as suggested in the diagram.

The plan would have the Municipality advance construction of the first four diamonds at the new Lamont Pit property.

After the first four ball diamonds are placed in service these two diamonds can be re-purposed in this suggestion.

A new large municipal playground area can be constructed.

All of these construction pieces, the playground equipment including the second four diamonds or pool complex funding could be funded in part or whole by the selling of lots designed for more family growth and as suggested in the drawing.

Image 1 Legend

1. New school addition (100% size increase)
2. Existing soccer field becomes school soccer field
3. Some existing and expanded staff and public parking space
4. New municipality playground area (largest to be built in the community to date)
5. Parking space for new playground
6. Continuation of Joseph Street single family homes
7. New townhome development similar to one directly west and opposite of Bruce Street
8. New municipal road off of Bruce Street east towards school for staff and public parking
9. Changes to Waterloo and Mary Street intersection including school bus only parking redefined
10. Orange rectangle defines new school board property
11. Children’s recess play area
12. Pedestrian access lane