River Hebert residents sign petitions to try to restart school construction
© Jocelyn Turner - Amherst Daily News
Joan Scopie signs the petition
RIVER HEBERT – Roger White has had enough. The River Hebert High School graduate was busy Saturday afternoon collecting signatures at the local Co-op, hoping to put pressure on the school board to restart construction at the local high school.
Construction at the high school came to a halt in April of last year when the second tender in the project came in over budget.
“This is just to spark some action because this has gone on too long,” said White. “It’s been over two years now since the original date has been set. In three weeks time, it’s going to be one full year since the reconstruction stopped.”
White said he will continue with the letter writing campaign and wait and see if any action is taken. If there’s no action, he’s willing to find another route to go in order to get some reaction. Conservative Party leader and Cumberland South MLA, Jamie Baillie, is trying to get in contact with the school board to hold a public meeting over the delay.
“God love the teachers and the students right now for what they’re putting up with. It’s awful,” said White. “They’re making the best of a bad situation but for how long? Can you imagine getting up in the morning and having to think about going to work in that? Unbelievable.”
White was not the only one upset over the construction delays. By two that afternoon, he had collected over 300 signatures.
“It’s time to have something done,” said resident Alan White. “It’s time to get this school fixed and give the kids a decent place to go to school. It’s been a disgrace to this community and it’s gone on long enough. We’ll see if something happens.”
Carolyn Wilson is a former student of the high school. She has sent her children to the school, and has seen her grandchildren go to the school. She said she is disgusted by how long it is taking to see the facility finally finished.
“Everywhere else, they get what they want, especially in other parts of Nova Scotia,” she said. “We seem to be neglected down here and I don’t think it’s fair. That school has been in bad condition for a while and something should be done. We should have a new school for all of our children.”
As of early Saturday evening, White said he had collected 615 signatures. He will be taking the signatures to Baillie, whom he said would take them to Education Minister Ramona Jennex.
“Hopefully she’ll light a fire under the school board,” he added. “That’s where we believe the decision lies.”
White said he will be back collecting signatures later next week.