River Hebert residents at wits end regarding renovations

Dave
Dave Mathieson
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Government officials set to visit school Friday at 10 a.m.

RIVER HEBERT - What’s the hold up?

RIVER HEBERT - What’s the hold up?

That was the question on everybody’s mind that attended a meeting concerning the RHDH school renovation project Monday night at the River Hebert Legion.

The meeting started with students from River Hebert standing up and being applauded for enduring the state of their school for the last few years.

“Ladies and gentlemen, these students are why we are here tonight,” said Darrell Fagan, mediator of the meeting.

Fagan told the standing room only crowd that the only way they will get the renovations done is to come up with positive ideas to complete the construction of the P to 12 school.

“Every other idea or situation at that school is irrelevant here tonight,” said Fagan. “We have to get that tender out, approved, and have the excavators down there working.

“Everything else means very little if we don’t do that,” he added. “We have to focus on the construction of that school... and I’m sure the kids here would appreciate positive feedback.”

The province announced Thursday it is taking over management of the project from the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board.

The province did not set timeline on when tenders will be called, but last week the department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal said they expect it to happen within the next few weeks.

After Fagan asked for positive suggestions the floor was then open to residents.

One concerned parent said volunteers should get on a bus and go to Halifax, while another group of volunteers follow Darrell Dexter around.

“That’s the only thing that’s going to save our school,” said the parent.

He also asked for a promissory note from the government of Nova Scotia and the Department of Education saying the school project will go ahead.

“We want it to have (premier) Darrell Dexter’s signature on it, (Liberal leader) Stephen McNeil’s signature on it, and bring it to River Hebert and (PC leader, Cumberland South MLA) Jamie Baillie can sign it.”

Baillie, who was at the meeting, said he would sign the suggested note right there and then.

Cumberland South NDP Candidate Larry Dushesne Stood up next.

“I have been assured...that the NDP government is committed to seeing this project move forward,” said Dushesne. “I am convinced that the government is going to call a tender as they said they would.”

Area resident Mark Boon stood up next and said following Darrell Dexter is a good idea, and he expressed his respect for the patience the community has shown in the face of the delays.

“This community, in my opinion, has been very gentle in putting up with what reflects a third world country situation, and I commend the community for being nice,” said Boon. “On the other hand, I believe we ought to be in political action...we have signed the letters but it takes more than that.”

The crowd was told that several representatives from the government of Nova Scotia will visit RHDH Friday morning at 10 a.m.

“Go to the school, have placards and let them know how you feel,” said Boon.

The meeting lasted for more than an hour and after the meeting nobody had a better understanding of what the hold up was.

Jamie Baillie said he hoped a large crowd would be at the meeting so that he could carry the communities voice to the NDP government that they want the tenders out before the election.

“With such a great turnout tonight I can do that with Gusto,” said Baillie. “If they are serious, get those tenders out and prove it.”

Asked what the hold up is Baillie said he doesn’t think it’s been a priority for the government.

“I hope the tenders go out before the election.”

He said he is pleased senior government officials are coming to River Hebert on Friday.

“The school is its own best argument. You only have to see it to know it’s not right,” said Baillie. “I’m glad we made two decisions here tonight, one, to go to Halifax, and, two, to bring Halifax to River Hebert.”

Cumberland South Liberal candidate Kenny John Jackson was also at the meeting.

“Stephen (McNeil) was here Aug. 18, and we took a tour of the school and he couldn’t believe it,” said Jackson. “It’s a shame that these children are going to a school that’s in such disarray. There’s no need of it in this day and age.”       

Organizations: RHDH school, Central Regional School Board, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department of Education McNeil

Geographic location: River Hebert, Halifax, Nova Scotia Chignecto Cumberland South

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Recent comments

  • concerned community member
    September 20, 2013 - 06:46

    My children no longer are in school but it is upsetting to know other peoples' children are attending a school that is in such terrible condition. I attended RHDH as did my children and there was work that could have been done then. The conditions are terrible. How much has the governments spend on the new facilities at the Springhill prison???? The government would never get away with having facilities like this school to house them. It would unfair conditions for them. Why should prisoners get a better facility then our own children trying to get an education. Something is seriously wrong.

  • concerned community member
    September 20, 2013 - 06:45

    My children no longer are in school but it is upsetting to know other peoples' children are attending a school that is in such terrible condition. I attended RHDH as did my children and there was work that could have been done then. The conditions are terrible. How much has the governments spend on the new facilities at the Springhill prison???? The government would never get away with having facilities like this school to house them. It would unfair conditions for them. Why should prisoners get a better facility then our own children trying to get an education. Something is seriously wrong.

  • Ohmslaw
    September 19, 2013 - 19:43

    The sad situation is that the NDP are the ones writing the cheques and not Baillie. NDP didn't do anything because its not a NDP riding and Amherst is getting a new elementary school first, because its a NDP riding.

  • Susan
    September 19, 2013 - 11:53

    WOW!! Have to congratulate all the residents of River Herbert, joggins and surrounding area for standing up for what they think is right for their children. With that said, 6 million dollars is alot of dough for a new school where their are no more than what 150 students? There will never be no more than that attending that area. Your living your dreams through your children! 30 minutes away in Amherst, there is an 11million dollar school being built. Let your children attend Amherst, more subjects, more activities, more opportunities to choose from. 6 million dollars in a waste of our tax payers dollars when the solution in only a 30 minute drive away

    • River Hebert
      September 20, 2013 - 12:10

      Its not hard to tell either you have no kids or you don't live here ..Why should we have to bus our kids to town ,when we don't have to, and that cost money..

    • River Hebert
      September 20, 2013 - 12:12

      Its not hard to tell either you have no kids or you don't live here ..Why should we have to bus our kids to town ,when we don't have to, and that cost money..

    • Reason
      September 23, 2013 - 08:39

      To River Hebert: Busing is the logical choice for an area that is not large enough to warrant the outlay of 6-8 million dollars for a new school. When a person chooses to live in an area, he's choosing proximity to schools, jobs, healthcare, shopping, etc. Other taxpayers shouldn't have to pay the price for your choices

    • Tina
      September 24, 2013 - 15:03

      I heartily disagree that 6 million dollars is a waste of tax payers money. For children's education?? Amherst being 30 minutes away is not a viable solution.......you say let our children attend Amherst for more subjects, activities & opportunities??? For your information, I graduated from RHDH and got a great education as did many, many others. Small class sizes enabled us to know all of our teachers and every student in our classes. We didn't feel like just a number in our school...we all had names & everyone knew them. I'm not knocking larger schools as they have many benefits as well, but for you to comment that because we're a small community we don't deserve a school...that's wrong. How do the children play sports after school if they have to be bussed to Amherst? Will the busses do two runs - taking home the non sports students then coming back for the others? What about when basketball practice doesn't start until 7pm? Do the kids hang around the school? Many parents simply could not afford 2 -3 trips a day to Amherst for extracurricular activities. It's not what we "think is right" for our children....it's what is right! Seriously - "Other taxpayers shouldn't have to pay the price for your choices"....wow - have you even seen where a lot of "our" taxpayers money goes?? I pay taxes too and I'll have you know there are still areas in River Hebert & Joggins that don't even have paved roads....so believe me, "your taxpaying money" isn't being spent frivolously in River Hebert. In closing, judging by some of the comments I've read, I wonder where some of that education came from - certainly if it was at the 11 million dollar school in Amherst they've taken grammar out of the curriculum. By the way, I don't even have children going to the school. I'm just a fed up community member.

  • Sam
    September 18, 2013 - 21:25

    Like someone said why is Mr Baillie running up here and not back in his own riding in Halifax.,answer:Because he would not get elected there. Im willing to Jackson a chance,at least he from the area.

    • Susan
      September 19, 2013 - 12:02

      WOW!! Have to congratulate all the residents of River Herbert, joggins and surrounding area for standing up for what they think is right for their children. With that said, 6 million dollars is alot of dough for a new school where their are no more than what 150 students? There will never be no more than that attending that area. Your living your dreams through your children! 30 minutes away in Amherst, there is an 11million dollar school being built. Let your children attend Amherst, more subjects, more activities, more opportunities to choose from. 6 million dollars in a waste of our tax payers dollars when the solution in only a 30 minute drive away

  • David
    September 18, 2013 - 17:22

    On Jan 24 2011 we had a public meeting in River Hebert where we voted for a P-12 school.This was only 3 1/2 months after the bi-election . There was about 30 people there We were all surprised that Baillie was not there! We were even more surprised that Kenny Jackson was there!!! A man who had lost the bi-election could show up for meeting and the new MLA was nowhere to be seen. All I can say is on Jan. 24 2011 Kenny Jackson showed me what kind of person he was!!!!! He has been trying to show us what kind of a person he is for over 3 years. Maybe it is time for the people of Cumberland South to open their eyes.

  • David
    September 18, 2013 - 16:25

    There’s no need of it in this day and age.” Asked what the hold up is Baillie said he doesn’t think it’s been a priority for the government.. i think it shouldnt be a pririty to pay all of are tax's this year tell the school is done !!!!!

  • DB
    September 18, 2013 - 15:50

    The reason why we are seeing stuff like this go on is that government from the municipal to federal is full of arrogant, egotistical, pompous managers. From the bottom of every department to every VP and CEOs. They don't care about their employees or members of the public they are supposed to serve. It is that corporate mentality that keeps feeding itself over and over.

    • noodle
      September 19, 2013 - 08:41

      Well said!! I don't think it could be described any better than with your last sentence: "It is that corporate mentality that keeps feeding itself over and over."

  • Stewart
    September 18, 2013 - 14:16

    Mr Baillie has been around for some time,I don't think the school was one of his top priority neither.Him and Dexter are some what alike.