Both the Honey Harbour Public School and Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School could close in 2017.
The Honey Harbour Association (HHA) has supported the development of Honey Harbour since its founding in 1908. Our Association has demonstrated the need and spearheaded the implementation of regional schooling, postal and telephone services, hydro, roads, policing, fire protection, environmental stewardship, and better government. It was the Association, led by Colonel Duff, which saw the creation of the Public School on North Bay that served our community for some twenty years before moving ‘downtown’. Of course, that site later became our ‘Schoolhouse’.
There are over 12,000 residents and transient boaters that annually use Honey Harbour to access their water-based residences and moorings. Closing both our schools, rather than looking at local co-location, will not only destroy the social fabric of the Honey Harbour community, but also the economic engine and well-being of the service providers such as marinas, contractors, grocery stores, lodgings, restaurants, outfitters, fishing guides, Libraries, boutiques, Beausoleil Island National Park, and our Church. Try to imagine Honey Harbour after many of the local families move closer to other schools.
The Honey Harbour and Port Severn area is slated for residential development of over 400 various types of housing units over the next few years. What attracts families to settle in a community is access to local education, employment opportunities and diverse recreational activities. What attracts retirees and seasonal residents, as well as visitors, is not only the wonderful geography, but also the services provided by the local businesses.
The HHA believes that the current School Boards’ Accommodation Review process is not reflective of the reality of our rural school and community life. They do not take into account all the educational, social and economic aspects of school closings on small rural communities. Further, our Association requests that the Minister of Education initiate an immediate moratorium on the Accommodation Review Process until such time as a review of the above-mentioned impacts on the community be studied, completed and the results and recommendations be considered.
The residents of the Township of Georgian Bay contribute over 5.2 million dollars for the education of their children, and yet the Ministry wants to close both of our Honey Harbour schools! Greater consideration and due diligence needs to be given to provide local schooling in exchange for the funding provided, rather than bussing the students many hours away daily and dismantling the social and economic fabric of the Honey Harbour Community.
We strongly encourage you to contact the individuals noted below, as well as your ‘away’ MPP, letting them know how strongly you oppose the closing of the Honey Harbour schools. Please feel free to use any portion of the above in your correspondence, and add your personal remarks. For example, do you believe that the 'better' education offered by bigger schools is worth spending two or three hours a day in a school bus? How will you be effected if the schools are closed?
Please help Save Our Schools.
Thank you. Peter Koetsier, President, Honey Harbour Association
Carol Corriveau-Truchon, Trustee, Vice-Chair, Simcoe-Muskoka Catholic District School Board
Ab Falconi, Superintendent of Education, Elementary, Simcoe-Muskoka Catholic District School Board firstname.lastname@example.org
Louise Clodd, Trustee, Chair, Trillium Lakelands District School Board
Larry Hope, Director of Education, Trillium Lakelands District School Board email@example.com
Norm Miller, MPP, Parry Sound - Muskoka
Hon. Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education
Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Premier
Hon. Tony Clement, MP, Parry Sound - Muskoka
Larry Braid, Mayor, Township of Georgian Bay
Kathy Kay, Area Councillor Ward 4, Township of Georgian Bay
Bob Duncanson, Executive Director, Georgian Bay Association
Bob Snider, President, Cognashene Cottagers Association
Peter Koetsier, President, Honey Harbour Association