Neighbours say proposed site unsuitable for a high school

A group of Aspen Ridge residents want the City of Red Deer to know that a high school is not welcome in their neighbourhood.

A group of Aspen Ridge residents want the City of Red Deer to know that a high school is not welcome in their neighbourhood.

Greater North Central Francophone Education Region has requested that Red Deer city council redesignate a school site on Addington Drive to allow a kindergarten to Grade 12 school.

The site is now designated for a kindergarten-to-Grade 9 school.

The francophone jurisdiction wants to build a new home for Ecole La Prairie, a kindergarten-to-Grade 12 school now operating in the old Piper Creek elementary school.

Residents had until Tuesday to submit comments on the proposal. City planner Haley Mountstephen said about 150 comments were received, mostly opposed to redesignation.

Aspen Ridge resident Doreen Tighe said a high school isn’t appropriate for the site.

“It’s a significant change to the neighbourhood,” Tighe said.

“High schools are not typically built in the interior of a residential area. We have homes on all four sides of that park.”

She is primarily concerned about higher traffic volume on neighbourhood streets and the impact on parking.

Tighe said high schools require four times the parking spaces compared to an elementary school, according to city bylaws.

Mountstephen said the redesignation proposal will likely come before city council for first reading in late January, when council would also set a date for a public hearing to hear from people in favour or opposed to the proposal.

If city council gives final approval for redesignation, the school would still have to be approved by the city’s municipal planning commission.

Mountstephen said the planning commission would review the design of the building and site, including calculating requirements for parking.

Ecole La Prairie has 125 students, most of them kindergarten to Grade 9, and serves Central Alberta.

The new francophone school is one of three P3 (public private partnerships) school projects the province has planned for Red Deer.

The schools will open for the 2014-15 school year.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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