Varsity residents sue CBE over plans for special needs school in green space
Residents seek damages for loss of property value in addition to stopping school development
Some residents in a community in northwest Calgary are going to court to try to stop a new special needs school from being built in their neighbourhood.
The lawsuit launched by residents in Varsity seeks an immediate injunction to stop the development of the new Christine Meikle School.
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The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) decided to build the school this year because the current facility in Bridgeland is outdated for students, many of whom are in wheelchairs.
The 30 people named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit say the CBE labelled the green space — set aside for a school when the community was first developed — as "permanently surplused" in 2003, which the residents argue creates an obligation for the CBE to sell the land to the city, which it did not do.
The lawsuit says many of the plaintiffs bought their properties after 2003 and specifically relied on the fact that the area had been permanently surplused when making their decision to buy.
No need for school, says lawsuit
It also suggests the local school district has been operating at less than capacity for many years and therefore there is no need for a new school in that location.
In addition to stopping the school from being built, they are also seeking damages from the CBE for "high-handed conduct" as well as "diminution in value of each of the properties of the plaintiffs."
The lawsuit says the decision to build a school on the land breaches the CBE's fiduciary duty to stakeholders and it has also "caused the value of each of the properties owned by each of the plaintiffs to diminish in value."
None of the allegations have been proven in court and the CBE has not yet filed a statement of defence.