Strike camps fizzle

Teachers at Tweedsmuir elementary school man their picket line on Monday as part of the BC Teachers
Teachers at Tweedsmuir elementary school man their picket line on Monday as part of the BC Teachers' Federation's rotating strikes to put pressure on contract negotiations.

Instead the music director and pianist at Music Box Music and Theatre Academy at the River Market caught up on paperwork.

That's because nobody signed up for the academy's special strike camp to give parents a place to send their kids while New Westminster teachers walked the picket line on the first day of rotating strikes around the province to protest the lack of progress in contract negotiations.

A special one-day camp for school kids put on by the city at Moody Park Arena was also cancelled because of a lack of interest.

And staff at the Queensborough public library branch said they were seeing lots of adult visitors in the early afternoon of a day the facility is normally closed but not so many kids. The library was opened from 1-5 p.m. on Monday to accommodate kids left at loose ends by the school closures.

Fairbairn said despite a vigourous email campaign to get the word out about the Music Box' camp, and generating lots of buzz on social media, she was disappointed nobody took advantage of the special offering. Most of the academy's programs run in the evenings and on weekends.

"We were hoping to get five-10 kids out," said Fairbairn, who had a staff member on call to run the camp for kids 4-1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with after care available until 4 p.m.

Fairbairn said she suspects with the job action by New Westminster teachers falling on a Monday, many parents just decided to extend their weekend to look after their kids. But with the job action moving to neighbouring districts later in the week, the academy is extending the range of ages it will take in some of its existing programs so parents of school kids in Coquitlam and Delta can bring their kids to the academy when their schools are closed.

Anne Malm at Moody Park Arena said staff there didn't receive even a single inquiry for the $32 day camp during which kids were going to do crafts, play games and sports on the arena floor and visit the Queen's Park petting zoo.


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