Virginia Park Elementary school council questioning construction delays
Council says no work has been done in months
A member of the school council for Virginia Park Elementary in St. John's is questioning why it's been months since any construction has taken place on the site of its replacement school, in the east end of the city.
Peter Whittle said the site, adjacent to the existing school, has a two-storey steel frame with a fence around it, but there's been no sign of work since at least mid-June.
Whittle, who is also president of the province's Federation of School Councils, called those idle summer months a missed opportunity.
"School gets out, suddenly it's quiet, there's no kids around — a great time for construction. And absolutely nothing going on whatsoever," he told The St. John's Morning Show.
The Department of Transportation and Works is in charge of tendering the work, and is now targeting Sept. 2017 for the school to be ready, a revision to the earlier completion date of Sept. 2016.
"What I understand now, is the tender process is working its way, and they actually are to go to tender very, very soon. I'm not sure of the exact specifics of days or weeks," said Education Minister Susan Sullivan, speaking on behalf of the Department of Transportation and Works.
In a statement, the department said the tender delays are "due in part to unforeseen issues that were identified with the site for the school, and site preparation."
The site sits atop a former American military base. Site remediation has revealed an array of buried debris, including airplane fuselage.
'Lipstick on a pig'
"Fuselage is not the issue here, it's a red herring. The government is trying to put lipstick on a pig here," said Whittle.
Whittle feels project management is causing problems.
feels like the provincial government is punishing us for our successful decade long campaign to ensure we did not lose our community school—@PANDPTWEET
Whittle said a government report from 2007 stated the current Virginia Park Elementary was dilapidated and unsafe.
"We've been in that school since then, we've been trying to keep it functional, and nothing's really been moving," said Whittle. "The kids deserve better than this."
To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.
By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.
Become a CBC Account Holder
Join the conversation Create account
Already have an account?