A week before the city’s public meeting on the risk assessment at 18–30 Erskine Avenue, May 3, the parents of John Fisher Public School reached their $10,000 GoFundMe goal.
Championed by former journalist, Stavros Rougas, Yvonne Ziomecki and Patrick Russell, the Save John Fisher campaign is geared to raise money for a third-party traffic study, as well as a third-party review of the Toronto District School Board’s risk assessment.
The Parents for John Fisher School is a registered non-profit corporation, and they hit their goal within 17 days of its launch. Rougas said it’s a sign of solidarity among those in the community. They’ve been active without any funds before that.
“I’ve been involved for six months, pushing back,” he said in a late April phone call. “At this point, we want to have some funds to fund some studies, as needed.
“We’re willing to continue this, to ramp it up.”
The 35-storey building’s design still has many unanswered questions, even with the risk assessment, and the parents want them answered by an outside source.
How the funds will be used is mapped out on their website, which attributes $5,000 to the review of the risk assessment, $3,000 for the traffic study and an additional $2,000 for campaign materials, banking fees, and general expenses. Any unused money will be gifted to the John Fisher Public School parent council for the benefit of the students.
Rougas acknowledged it’s always a challenge to get 500 parents to get on board, but the “overblown” nature of the development has unified them.
“We want to put ourselves in place because who knows what will happen? Will we need a lawyer? These are things that are probable. We’re going to keep going,” he said, of the campaign to fight the development.
There was limited hope in Rougas’ voice when asking if he was optimistic about the public meeting.
“People think something will get fixed. People assume. And what’s happening is something’s not getting fixed, and it’s an abomination of planning,” he said.