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Unprecedented study on Parkside closure impact

 By Craig Campbell, News Staff

City of Hamilton planning staff is reviewing a request from Dundas Community Council for an unprecedented impact study on the consequences of closing Parkside Secondary School.

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board plans to officially close Parkside in June and offer it for sale in March 2015.  Board staff say they will not sell the school until it is known whether the facility will be needed beyond June 2015.

For the September 2014 to June 2015 school year the Parkside building is expected to remain in use as a second campus of Dundas Valley Secondary School while an addition is added to the Highland building on Governor’s Road.

A resolution passed by Dundas Community Council states Parkside’s closure “like other school closures would have an effect on many aspects of community life, including the local economy, ready access for the youth of the community to an active park in central Dundas amongst many other concerns.”

City councillors unanimously supported referring the request to the Acting General Manager of Planning and Economic Development for a report back to Planning Committee.

City spokesperson Mike Kirkopolous  said the next anticipated step is a report to planning committee about the impact study, before the study itself.

“This will be beyond just the traditional land use planning report and include input and advice from across the organization,” Kirkopolous said.

“Finance, parks, recreation, our neighbourhood and community initiatives group will all have inputs.”

The proposed impact study on the consequences of closing Parkside would be the first of its kind in the City of Hamilton.

The Dundas Community Council resolution suggests a Parkside closure impact study would form the basic template for future reviews of proposed school closures across the City of Hamilton.

“Parkside High School has been a recognized institution, contributing to the quality of life in the Community of Dundas for more than 55-years,” the resolution states. “…the City of Hamilton and Province of Ontario has identified a need for Healthy Communities, and a desire to maintain the overall well-being of its communities.”

The resolution also suggests the study “be done with some urgency, given the stated desire of the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board to close this school along with others in the near future.”

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