Stu­dent in­jured by fall­ing guard rail at An­nex school

In­ci­dent high­lights risk of send­ing kids to school next to ac­tive con­struc­tion zones

Annex Post - - NEWS - by Sa­man­tha Peksa

A stu­dent at Palmerston Av­enue Ju­nior Pub­lic School was struck by a piece of scaf­fold­ing that had fallen from the con­struc­tion site of a ren­o­va­tion project near the south­east cor­ner of the An­nex build­ing on Jan. 15.

Mon­ica Gupta, whose child at­tends the school, said the in­ci­dent has raised con­cerns among sev­eral par­ents she’s spo­ken with in the com­mu­nity. How­ever, Gupta also noted the school seems to be do­ing ev­ery­thing it can in re­sponse.

“They had a meet­ing with the Min­istry of Labour, day­care, the in­spec­tors came. Of course, this is af­ter some­thing aw­ful hap­pened,” said Gupta.

In a let­ter sent home with par­ents on Jan. 18, Matthew Reid, prin­ci­pal of Palmerston Av­enue Jr. P.S., con­firmed the stu­dent was struck by part of a safety guard rail that had dis­lodged from the struc­ture. Fol­low­ing a re­view by Toronto Dis­trict School Board (TDSB) Health and Safety, the Min­istry of Labour and Clif­ford Con­struc­tion, Reid said he was told weather may have been a fac­tor.

Ryan Bird, spokesper­son for the TDSB, said the in­jured stu­dent re­turned to school the fol­low­ing week and con­struc­tion re­sumed as of Jan. 23.

Fur­ther safety mea­sures have been put in place in wake of the in­ci­dent. The Kinder­garten yard will re­main closed un­til the com­ple­tion of the project and evac­u­a­tion plans to reroute stu­dents dur­ing an emer­gency have been cre­ated.

Mesh net­ting has been ex­tended to wrap around the scaf­fold­ing, plus a 15-foot ex­ten­sion has been added to the over­hang at the north and south en­trances and ex­tra tie-ends and guardrails have been in­stalled.

Reid said safety pro­ce­dures were re­viewed with all on-site crew and a third-party en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tant in­spected the site and scaf­fold­ing, along with TDSB of­fi­cials and Clif­ford Con­struc­tion prior to any fur­ther work.

“This project has been go­ing on for months now. There’s so much con­struc­tion. There’s fenc­ing all around what should be the chil­dren’s area, for the younger kids. That’s what hurts the most, it’s tak­ing up a lot of their space,” said Gupta. “It’s been a long drawn-out process and I think par­ents get very frus­trated with it.”

Reid said Clif­ford Con­struc­tion in­di­cated on Jan. 18 that it re­quires 14 work­ing days to com­plete the restora­tion work and dis­man­tle and tidy up the site. He in­sisted the crew will try to do as much of the work as pos­si­ble when stu­dents and teach­ers are not present in the build­ing.

“Work has re­sumed at the school — with the safety mea­sures out­lined in a par­ent let­ter last week put in place,” said Bird. “The project be­gan on June 30 and weather per­mit­ting, will wrap up in the next cou­ple of weeks.”

On­tario’s Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion an­nounced on Jan. 15 that it would com­mit $784 mil­lion of fund­ing to­ward build­ing 39 new schools and 40 ma­jor ren­o­va­tions and ad­di­tions in com­mu­ni­ties across the prov­ince.

Con­struc­tion re­sumed at the school on Jan. 23

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