OPSEU/SEFPO IN THE NEWS: Save the Science Centre campaign
OPSEU/SEFPO’s campaign to Save the Science Centre continues to make news this week in a column by the Toronto Star Editorial Board that includes a quote from President JP Hornick pouring cold water on Doug Ford’s justifications for relocating the Ontario Science Centre.
- Science centre staff want to make the move. “They want something new, they want something sparkling and have an opportunity to be able to walk into a beautiful facility,” Ford declared.
Not so, says JP Hornick, president of OPSEU/SEFPO, the union which represents some 400 employees at the centre. “Not a single one of them is happy. They’re angry. They’re upset. They weren’t consulted,” Hornick told the Star this week.
OPSEU/SEFPO has said there are “no discernible benefits and many disadvantages to moving from the current spacious location in Don Mills to a congested site downtown.”
On May 6, OPSEU/SEFPO held an Info picket and rally at the Ontario Science Centre that included workers from the centre and community members who want to save this vital cultural resource in the community.
Media coverage of the info picket included CBC News:
The union argues the centre benefits from its current location, citing its accessibility by public transit and highways, its use as a community hub for locals in the area, and its history “inspiring” the more than 220,000 school children and families who visit yearly.
Martin Fischer is the second vice president of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 549, which represents about 400 of the Ontario Science Centre workers. He says if the Science Centre were to move, workers would lose the precious space they need to create their world-renowned exhibits.
“We would like to know what’s the plan? What’s going to happen to all of these jobs, and what’s going to happen to the role that the Science Centre has in the world?” said Fischer.
Ford’s plans continue to cause alarm in the local community, as highlighted by this recent report from CP24 on parents in Flemingdon Park who are worried about the impact on accessibility to educational facilities and the potential difficulties for low-income families.
“The neighbourhood around the Ontario Science Centre is mostly vulnerable people,” parent and community advocate Shakhlo Sharipova told CP24. “It’s a highly dense neighbourhood, majority immigrants, with lots of children. It’s very hard for us to go somewhere accessible for low-income families, particularly with children – without the science centre close by, we won’t have anywhere to go.”