Catchment split upsets Port Moody parents

Petition aims to convince School District 43 to put a stop to boundary changes for Eagle Mountain

A group of parents say their Port Moody neighbourhood is being torn apart by new school boundaries that would require their kids to go to a middle school in Coquitlam instead of their hometown.

A petition has gathered more than 600 signatures since families in the Heritage Woods community on PoMo’s north shore heard about catchment changes to reduce the pressure on Eagle Mountain middle school.

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Announced by School District 43 last week, the plan would see the Eagle Mountain catchment altered so that children living in a neighbourhood north of David Avenue would go to Summit middle instead.

Approximately 50 students would be affected over the next three years, beginning in September 2018, raising fears among families who say the community built at feeder school Aspenwood elementary will be torn apart.

“We are this incredible network of parents and children who have built these strong bonds and hoped would be together from kindergarten to Grade 12,” said Ian Colvin, who lives in a townhome on Panorama Drive.

On Google maps, the neighbourhood north of David Avenue, which includes 600-525 Forest Park Way a townhouse at 2220 Panorama Drive and homes on Alder Drive, Holly Drive, Maple Drive, Maple Court and Spruce Court, appear to be as close by car to Summit in Coquitlam as Eagle Mountain in PoMo, about a four-minute drive.

But parents say walking to Summit would take about three times as long as to Eagle Mountain and, more importantly, would separates a small group of children from their peers.
Colvin said his son, now in Grade 3, is already worried about the transition, which is still three years away.

If the plan is approved, his son would be one of only a dozen children expected to walk or bus to the middle school.

“You’re lifting our house and moving it into Coquitlam. At the end of the day, what is the rational for moving these children so far away into another city with no resources,” he said.

Colvin is also concerned about what he considers to be a lack of transparency because parents haven’t been able to get their questions answered, especially why portables aren’t being considered at Eagle Mountain.

Final catchment changes will be announced at a board of education meeting Dec. 20.

School District 43 says the changes are necessary to accommodate classroom size and composition requirements resulting from a Supreme Court decision.

"We continue to explore options. We understand this can be difficult for students and parents and we empathize with them on their concerns," spokesperson Peter Chevrier stated in an email.

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