Montreal basketball program reports problems with athletic facilities after school transfer

Click to play video: 'West Island basketball program struggling after school transfer' West Island basketball program struggling after school transfer
WATCH: The Brookwood Basketball Association has been providing West Island kids the chance to learn all about basketball for 50 years, but it’s getting harder to do. As Global’s Kwabena Oduro, reports the problems started when Riverdale High School, where the classes are held, was transferred to a French Board. – Feb 14, 2020

The transfer of Riverdale High School to the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Board is causing unexpected consequences for the Brookwood basketball program.

Brookwood is a west island basketball program that provides training programs for over 600 boys and girls from the ages of six to 18. The teams practice at the old Riverdale high school in Pierrefonds, but ever since the facilities were transferred to the school board last year, they’ve been running into problems.

“We were informed that almost 75 per cent of our nets have been condemned that we use for house league,” said Brockwood basketball president Joen McKitterick.

“Benches, garbage cans, water fountains — just a lot of things that were there the prior years were no longer there.”

The City of Pierrefonds addressed the issue at Monday’s borough council meeting, saying the school board is concerned about safety.

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“They can’t guarantee us that that facility for them or for the children is as safe as we think it is. And this is why they need to have a structural engineer verify all of that” said Mayor Jim Beis.

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Since the change in administration, volunteers are required to open the doors and clean up the facilities — even vomit. Garbage cans, meanwhile, overflow during weekends when they have hundreds of players practicing. The water fountains aren’t really functional, either.

That’s adding an extra burden to people like volunteer coaches, who are already very busy.

Click to play video: 'Opposition to Riverdale High School transfer continues' Opposition to Riverdale High School transfer continues
Opposition to Riverdale High School transfer continues – Feb 4, 2019

Under the Lester B. Pearson School Board, an employee was on hand to look after opening as well as locking up as well as other custodial duties.

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“It adds a little bit more to us. We have to think the next day, Sundays, is someone going to be there on time? Are other teams going to wait? Are our teams going to be outside waiting while we have to open the gym?”  said Jil Manon-og, a longtime volunteer coach.

“We are responsible for opening up the gyms. It’s a struggle; it’s a challenge but we’re still getting through it.”

For the young athletes who use the facilities, they’re gearing up for playoffs and worried they won’t be as prepared as they could be.

“We can no longer practice fully. We can’t do full court. It’s not the same,” said Shaedon Morrison, a bantam intercity athlete.

“It would be nice to have all the nets available to us.”

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Despite the frustration, things are starting to get a little better for the program. “I am happy to say so far, as of yesterday [Thursday], my intercity director texted me saying the water fountains have been turned back on and we have gone from one garbage can to six,” McKitterick told Global News.

Parents, coaches and players were being forced to sit on the floor during games, but that’s also set to change.

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“The principal has told the intercity director, Kenny Clyke, that he has ordered six additional benches for us,” according to McKitterick.

In a statement, the Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys told Global News that a structural engineer had inspected the basketball courts and determined that some were unsafe. They have submitted a request to the Ministry of Education for financing for the repairs.

They say they are already planning to carry out the repairs, adding that the security of users is a top priority.

Click to play video: 'Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge​ explains his decision to transfer two schools from the EMSB to the overcrowded French system​.' Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge​ explains his decision to transfer two schools from the EMSB to the overcrowded French system​.
Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge​ explains his decision to transfer two schools from the EMSB to the overcrowded French system​ – Jun 28, 2019

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