Veil of secrecy thrown over education report, charges Fairclough

Depending on who you talk to, a controversial report on the future of a new Copper Ridge school and FH Collins is complete. Or not.

Depending on who you talk to, a controversial report on the future of a new Copper Ridge school and FH Collins is complete. Or not.

Education Minster Patrick Rouble insists the report isn’t finished.

But the guy who wrote the report says the finished document was delivered last month.

On May 23, Bruce McAskill of Victoria, BC-based Hold Fast delivered his report. It’s called: School Feasibility Study: Final Report.

He handed it to Lee Kubica, the superintendent of schools.

“The fact is that the final report has not been received,” Education Minister Patrick Rouble said during Tuesday’s question period.

“That is the fact; that is the truth.

 “I have not yet received the final report.

 “I am not in possession of the final report.”

The report, which answers the school location and rebuilding questions, was completed well ahead of the May 31 deadline, said McAskill.

It was supposed to have been made public.

To date, the report has not been posted on the department of Education’s website, nor has it been tabled in the Yukon legislature.

The contractor’s been asked to look further into areas and do some additional work, said Rouble in the house.

The contractor has also held additional meetings with the community, he added.

The last public meeting in Whitehorse was March 21, said McAskill.

The meeting was held at Elijah Smith Elementary School and community members who attended were asked what kind of school they would like to see built in the Copper Ridge area.

The meeting mimicked the one held at FH Collins Wednesday, January 10 where attendees were asked: Should FH Collins be rebuilt or refurbished?

Since then, McAskill has not held any public meetings in Whitehorse.

“The department of Education has received a draft report from Hold Fast Consulting,” said Education department spokesperson Clea Roberts in an e-mail to the News.

“I would consider it a final draft,” said McAskill about the report handed Kubica.

The report is no longer being worked on, he said.

Hold Fast has been paid the full $69,000 promised for completing the project, he added.

“Perhaps the minister could show some interest and get hold of this report,” said Liberal education critic Eric Fairclough in the legislature Tuesday.

“It’s done; it’s completed … There’s no reason why the minister can’t table that report in this house.”

Whitehorse residents have many concerns about the fate of FH Collins, he said.

Will it be renovated?

Will there be a new school built?

Where will a new school be built?

How much would it cost?

Would there be a change in programming offered?

There are many questions out there, said Fairclough.

“The minister has the report. He needs to make this public,” he said.

Sources who have seen the report say it recommends the Yukon government do nothing for at least another five years.

In the report, Hold Fast recommends the government not spend the $30 million it would cost to build a new FH Collins Secondary School or a school in the Copper Ridge area.

“During the byelection in October 2005, Yukoners were told by a Yukon Party candidate there would be a new school built in the Granger-Copper Ridge area,” Fairclough told the legislature.

“In the election of 2006, the Yukon Party reaffirmed their intention to build a new school.”

People want to know what the plan is, he said.

 “We have patiently waited for the report,” he added.

 “Now the deadline has come and gone.

“Where is the report?

“Why is it a big secret?”

The government will continue to be responsive to the needs of the community, said Rouble, responding to Fairclough’s questions.

Rouble refused to be interviewed.

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