Playground goes under school’s wheels

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board is paving a playground — that parents spent years raising money for — to put up a staff parking lot in Hintonburg.
Cars parked at Devonshire Public School on Breezehill Ave. N. near Somerset St. W. have been ticketed for illegally parking along the front fence of the school’s yard, according to a letter addressed to parents by principal Deborah Kuffner.
The school was notified Thursday and the letter was sent home that afternoon.   Work for the 2,000 sq. ft. 10-space-lot began first thing Friday morning — much to the dismay of parents.
“We can’t afford for the kids to lose another inch,” said Kelly Serjeantson, whose three children attend Devonshire.
A crew was seen removing a chain-link fence as well as a picnic table and two tetherball poles, which the school council paid $10,000 for about five years ago.
But the crew stopped working two hours later.
The school board will make up for the loss of playground space with room in front of the school, said Kuffner’s letter.
“The expected result is that there would be no overall loss of playground space for our children,” wrote Kuffner.
“We totally support the solution,” said co-chair Joanne Astorga.
But this isn’t the first time the kids have had to suffer.
A basketball court was already annexed to make spots for a few cars, Astorga said.
“Devonshire kids play on an L-shaped court,” she said. “It’s extremely disheartening.”
Many kids live in high-rise apartments.
“Their playground at school is the only backyard they have,” said Astorga.
Parents have set up a Facebook group called “Devonshire Kids Not Cars.”
The OCDSB could not be reached for comment.

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