In its way, the system works

It would be easy for someone with nothing immediately at stake in the proposed school on Addington Drive to say the majority of neighbourhood residents — and all of city council — got it wrong to deny the zoning change needed to get the school built on that site.

It would be easy for someone with nothing immediately at stake in the proposed school on Addington Drive to say the majority of neighbourhood residents — and all of city council — got it wrong to deny the zoning change needed to get the school built on that site.

Especially considering that the denial may have bad consequences for three other schools that our region also badly needs.

But when did the laws change to say that the four new schools planned for our area have to be a package deal or no deal at all?

And when a community puts up a united front on an issue, what’s an elected council to do?

We are constantly being asked for input on decisions that affect us — how can council override such a strong and consistent opinion?

The people of Aspen Ridge were adamant they did not want a school with even a small high school component on a building site not originally planned and zoned for a high school.

By the time it came to vote on the structure plan for the area, fine points of how the project might or might not affect the community were really beside the point; the people had spoken.

At least on Monday, everyone had a convenient out: we can just blame the provincial government for trying to steamroll a package of P3 schools on an arbitrarily tight timeline, as much for ideological reasons as educational.

It seems everyone wants the school to be built, just not this way, and not at this site.

Fair enough. The school district, the city and Alberta Infrastructure ought to have a drawing board big enough to accommodate.

For the record, though, having high schools nearby isn’t such a bad thing.

We and our neighbours in Woodlea raised families with three high schools, a middle school and two elementary schools within five blocks of where we lived.

For our part, outside of potato chip bags and candy wrappers circulating in the breeze, it was far from being a problem.

With more than 2,500 students coming and going to all these schools every day for more than 30 years now, there has been no gang activity that we noticed.

There was once some spray-can vandalism, but who can say the schools were the cause?

The traffic does get heavy for a half hour twice a day, students jaywalk everywhere, they sometimes walk on people’s lawns — but then, so do I.

A student driver ran over and killed our first family dog — and had the courage and courtesy to knock on our door to tell us. I told the distraught young man it was my fault the dog had gotten out of our yard, and we both bore the consequences in our own ways.

Overall, our lives were enriched for having high schools across the street from our home.

But that’s all beside the point as far as the school planned on Addington Drive is concerned.

Good decision or bad, we can be glad to live in a city where council has your back.

If significant groups of ratepayers come to a strong (and informed) consensus, we should be able to count on our councils to enact them.

Contrast this with the federal government’s behaviour with its omnibus crime bill and you can appreciate the democratic difference.

Going forward, our city planners should design neighbourhoods in a way that any area zoned for a future school should be designated for all kinds of schools, to a size suitable for its location.

Pre-kindergarten to Grade 12, it shouldn’t matter; what the district needs is what gets built. People who build or buy homes nearby would move in with that foreknowledge.

And they’ll probably find schools do make good neighbours.

Greg Neiman is an Advocate editor.

Just Posted

Former Central Alberta MLA appealing fine for not protecting a list of 20,000 electors

List included names and addresses of voters in Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre

Red Deer beginning two major construction projects

Ross Street’s 1935-era water main to be replaced and 67th Street roundabout landscaped

Lacombe firefighters on moose duty

Unfortunately, injured moose had to be put down by Fish and Wildlife officer

UPDATED: Spring craft sale attracts shoppers

Over 150 artisans at Red Deer craft sale

RCMP searching for man who may be armed

Citizens should not approach James Holley if spotted, says police.

WATCH: Fine wine and food at Red Deer College

The Red Deer College Alumni Association hosted its 14th annual Fine Wine… Continue reading

Doctors warn of cannabis risks for pregnant or breastfeeding users

OTTAWA — The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is warning pregnant and… Continue reading

Avicii, DJ-producer who performed around the world, dies

NEW YORK — Avicii, the Grammy-nominated electronic dance DJ who performed sold-out… Continue reading

Red Deer filmmakers are among 2018 Rosie Awards nominees

Cache Productions, Ignition Films in the running for AMPIA Awards

Audit clears Facebook despite Cambridge Analytica leaks

NEW YORK — An audit of Facebook’s privacy practices for the Federal… Continue reading

Marijuana sector firms get marketing pushback as legalization looms

TORONTO — Some Canadian marijuana sector companies are getting pushback against their… Continue reading

Red Deer volleyball player Samantha Gagnon named athlete of the month

A high school volleyball player has been named the Alberta Sport Development… Continue reading

Sarah Jessica Parker calls Cynthia Nixon’s run ‘exciting’

NEW YORK — Cynthia Nixon’s quest for the governorship of New York… Continue reading

Lawyers for Russian player say FIFA ends anti-doping case

By Graham Dunbar THE ASSOCIATED PRESS GENEVA — Lawyers for Russia defender… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month