PRESS RELEASE: MPP Ghamari’s Open Letter to Ontario’s Minister of Education Regarding a Public High School in Riverside South
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 19
QUEEN’S PARK – Please find below an open letter from MPP Ghamari to Ontario’s Minister of Education regarding the need for a public high school in Riverside South.
Re: Call for a public high school in Riverside South
I’m writing to you on behalf of the residents of Riverside South. The community of Riverside South, located in my riding of Carleton, is a new and rapidly growing development area in the City of Ottawa and is home to numerous young families. To date, approximately 10,000 houses have been built and are currently occupied. Within the next 10 years it’s expected to contain at least 20,000 houses.
Riverside South is currently home to thousands of families, many of whom have young children. Despite the fact that there are thousands of elementary and secondary-level students in Riverside South, Riverside South does not have a single local publicly-funded high school.
Students in Riverside South must attend either Merivale High School (located in Minister MacLeod’s riding of Nepean) or South Carleton High School, both of which are located a significant distance outside of the area. For example, South Carleton High School is located in Richmond, which is a 25 km drive with a commute of at least 25 minutes. Furthermore, all other high schools in the vicinity and in nearby ridings are already operating at over-capacity.
If a public high school was built in Riverside South by next year, it would already be operating at over-capacity. In fact, the need for a public high school in Riverside South holds the #2 spot of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board’s 2018 Capital Priorities List.
When I first began campaigning in 2016, it came as a great shock and surprise to me that there isn’t even a single local public high school in Riverside South, a community that housed over 8,000 families.
During the campaign I made a commitment to the residents of Riverside South that I would be a strong voice for them and that I would bring this matter to the government’s attention.
Since the election, the residents of Riverside South have been working tirelessly to bring this matter to our government’s attention. My constituency office has received hundreds of calls and emails, and I have met with dozens of parents, community leaders and local municipal politicians to discuss the need for a public high school.
All of this was organized under the leadership of Mrs. Laurie Rogers, a resident of Riverside South. Mrs. Rogers, who has three young daughters and is actively involved in the community, personally organized, mobilized and spearheaded the effort to gather thousands of signatures in support of building a public high school in Riverside South. I directly submitted this petition, which contained 2,596 signatures, to the Ministry of Education in February of 2019.
I was very pleased that in July 2020 the Ministry of Education approved funding to build two new elementary schools in Stittsville. This was excellent news for the residents of Stittsville and those schools were desperately needed to address the over-capacity issues in both Stittsville and Kanata.
Minister, the need for a public high school in Riverside South is real, urgent, and necessary. I cannot think of any other community of over 10,000 families that does not have a local, accessible public high school. Not only will building a public high school in Riverside South address the needs of the people residing in my riding of Carleton, but it will also address the over-capacity issues of other high schools in neighbouring ridings, such as Nepean.
On behalf of the residents of Riverside South, I am requesting that the Ministry of Education open a second round of calls for capital priority funding, and give strong consideration to building the first public high school in Riverside South.
/Goldie Ghamari, MPP
CC: Premier Ford, Riverside South Community Association