Wednesday, December 22, 2004

This year, don't forget the reason for the season - the URBAN PLANNER!

The East Side Story, a community newspaper dedicated to keeping East Londoners in their place and being happy about it, reports on the efforts of public school educators to make sure future generations know who's in charge!

Lorne Ave. Students Celebrate World Planning Day

In the energized environment of the Lorne Ave. Public School gym, plans are unfolding nicely. Mr. Hodgkinson's Grade 8's have created a collage of photographs that they have taken of their Old East Village neighbourhood.

Mrs. Asen's Grade 3's have constructed 3D buildings of cardboard. Soon, the streets of a map that covers a section of the gym floor have come to life with a library, a church, a grocery store, a college, a fire hall (with a fire truck at the ready) and an apartment complex.

Today's activities are in recognition of World Town Planning Day, which highlights the impacts of planning on many aspects of our daily life. Making this day extra-special are members of the City of London Planning Division. They have teamed up with the students for a morning walking tour of the local neighbourhood, pointing out many unique features of its history and development.

Grade 3 and 8 classes then return to the school to complete projects for this afternoon's display.

Principal Gary Simpson welcomes visitors. They include members of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (O.P.P.I.) along with Thames Valley District School Board Director of Education Bill Bryce and representatives from the O.E.V. B.I.A.

John Fleming, Manager of Planning and Development for the City of London congratulates the students on their participation in the day's events and offers these encouraging words:

"Your neighbourhood is a special one ... it's a heritage neighbourhood, [with] all kinds of unique buildings. It really is a cool place that you guys should be proud of."
Wow, kids, this guy is really cool -- he speaks just like a regular guy! "Enjoy your servitude, kids!"
While World Town Planning Day has successfully introduced the students to the importance of planning, it has also served to acquaint them with the ongoing revitalization process in their Old East Village community -- teaching them that they too, can be "part of the plan."
The festive day went off without a hitch, except for a minor incident when little Billy was informed by the big men in black suits and sunglasses that he couldn't take home his drawing of a town to his mother as it was property of the state.

So when Daddy complains about the bureaucratic red tape required to just do an exterior renovation on his heritage home, just tell him what you learned in school. And call the police . . .

© 2004 East Side Story. Published December 2004, vol. 9, no. 12.