The Mayor of Saugeen Shores has asked the Minister of Education to immediately allow the Bluewater District School Board to create plans for the construction of new elementary school space in Saugeen Shores.
Mayor Luke Charbonneau says in 2018 Saugeen Shores had a population of 14,801 and is expected to add more than 5,000 new residents by 2031; predicting an additional 2,702 school-aged children.
He cites the growth is due in part to Bruce Power’s Major Component Replacement (MCR) Project, which is now underway and will continue for decades.
"Many of those who are choosing to move to our community come as families with young children," says Charbonneau in the letter which was hand delivered to the Minister during the ROMA Conference 2020 Delegation.
September 2019 saw senior (grade 7 and 8) elementary students from both Northport Elementary and Ecole Port Elgin Saugeen Central move to Saugeen District Senior School (SDSS) to make the two elementary schools less crowded.
Charbonneau says the total capacity of the elementary and senior schools is sufficient to house the student population of the entire community, so long as students can be moved to facilities where there are available spaces.
"We also anticipate that our schools will continue to be home to an increasing number of students from the Saugeen First Nation, which had a school-aged population of 240 as of the 2016 census. Based on these projections, and given our current total school capacity of approximately 2,500 students, we believe that the number of students will far exceed the capacity of our existing schools by the end of this decade."
In the letter he cites, "a lack of available school space could become a significant impediment to the continued growth and success of Saugeen Shores insufficient school space in Saugeen Shores could jeopardize the ability of Bruce Power," as its workforce will be moving to the area.
"The Town doesn't have specifics about how or where new school space could be added," says Charbonneau, as that decision would be made by the Board and Ministry.
Mayor Charbonneau will be speaking with the Bluewater District School Board next Monday (Feb.24) one what steps the municipality can take together with the Ministry.
One can read the full letter here.