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REPORTING · 7th August 2010
Walter McFarlane
Back in June Madeleine Robinson, Executive member of Mount Elizabeth PAC presented to the School Board to request a loan so they could start repairing the Tennis Courts at Mount Elizabeth Secondary School.

“I am making a presentation in regards to the Tennis Courts at Mount Elizabeth Secondary School,” said Robinson. “The Courts are in desperate need of repair and they have not been used in approximately 5 years. Previous PACs have investigated repairs without success.”

She requested financial support on behalf of the PAC, a loan of $12,000 with a payment plan, so they would be able to start work and Students would be able to use the courts in the upcoming school year. They have requested grant funding so they would be able to repay the loan. The estimated costs to clean up the is $9,800 although she expected labour costs would be higher.

The planned renovations would be for 2 tennis courts, a basketball court and a hockey court. In addition to repairs to the tennis courts, they also need to be cleaned up. She also had a letter of support from the Mount Elizabeth recreation staff as it would give them another location they could teach from.

When these repairs are done the tennis courts will be locked after school hours to avoid liability issues.

“In completion of phase 1 students can access this viable outdoor facility in the next school year so we would have everything completed by September. This would give them choices and opportunity to experience a variety of sports as a class, group or physical activity,” said Robinson.

One of the school board trustees was concerned about loaning money to the PAC because they would be paying back money through grants they may not receive. Robinson replied they were anticipating the grant at the time as well as a $20 per student grant which PAC’s receive. This is why they wished to enter into a payment plan.

In addition, they have applied for other grants including a Rio Tinto Alcan Grant and they can apply for District of Kitimat Grant funding during the 2011 Budget. If they receive the grants, they will be able pay the School District back.

There were no further questions so Robinson sat down.

“On the twelfth [of July], the School board voted in favour of advancing $12,000 loan to the PAC at MESS to start fixing up the Tennis Courts. Then the following couple of days later, the PAC members started working on it and realized the amount of work that was going to be needed. They had to stop because there was so much work that had to be done to the Tennis Courts that they had to have the money returned to the School District. At the same time, the Provincial Government sent the Secrtary Treasurer and myself a letter questioning our ability to loan money to a PAC and not charge interest according to the going interest rates on the money to get a return on the money,” said School District Chair, Berry Pankhurst.

Robinson explained it turned out $12,000 would not be enough for the clean up. There was a problem with drainage which they would need more money to complete. Then, after being told they would have to pay interest, the PAC had to return the Money to the District as it is against their PAC Provisions to take on a loan with interest. Robinson stated they would only carry out the program if they get funding. They have applied for a Rio Tinto Alcan funding and they should know if they are successful in August or September. They hope to have the project funded by the end of the school year and the PAC has made some progress.

“At the moment, we’ve cleaned them up. [The Tennis Courts] are not an eyesore anymore. Initially, prior to [the clean up], there was garbage, there was beer bottles, glass, big rocks, the grass and the trees were knee high, prior to [the clean up], it did look similar to a land fill. But now, it’s cleaned up but it’s still not usable,” said Robinson.

Now, the school board has to make a policy. This was one of the topics at a meeting on August 4th. “The government who doesn’t give the school board enough money to maintain the playgrounds and yet at the same time, they push fitness. These parents were trying to fix up the tennis courts to make it a multi purpose outdoor venue with the full support of the teaching staff, the government then puts rules on about trying to give them money to try and help out with it,” said Pankhurst. “The government talks about all kids being fit and physically active and yet these parents are trying to do this and the government keeps putting up obstacles.”