Christine Meikle School plans unveiled at open house

Hundreds of residents living in the northwest community of Varsity got a look at the plans for a special needs school in the neighbourhood.

Some locals concerned about traffic increase

Parent Joanne Jacobson says the new Christine Meikle school in Varsity would improve conditions for its special-needs students. (CBC)

Hundreds of residents living in the northwest community of Varsity got a look Thursday night at the plans for a special needs school in the neighbourhood.

The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) held a public meeting to explain its plans to move the Christine Meikle School from Bridgeland to Varsity.

​​The land in Varsity has been earmarked for a school since 1971 but the green space is currently a community park.

"It's going to cause an unbelievable amount of traffic, parking problems [and] sewer problems," said local resident Mathew Puzey at the meeting. "It's got to be stopped. That lot was allocated in 1971 for a school to benefit the neighbourhood, not for a facility like this."

Traffic is not a concern for Tim Osztovits, who lives a few blocks from the proposed site, but he thinks the CBE should have done more to notify residents.

The CBE hopes to have development approvals from the city in place by August with construction slated to begin by the end of the year.

"I didn't find out about it until Monday or even Tuesday," said Osztovits. "It would have been nice if they had consulted with everyone about it."

Support for the school

Some residents at the meeting were more amenable to the idea of a special needs facility in their community, including Meagan Schellenberg, who is pregnant.

"Potentially, I might need a school like this. I don't know. You never know what the future holds."

Joanne Jacobson's son would be attending the special-needs school.

She said the location is ideal for her family but the more important factor is that the school would be specifically designed for special needs students.

"You've got wheelchairs and all the other stuff so there isn't room for the kids to move. So a new school will give them the space they need."