Council backs opponents to Moncton High move

Moncton city councillors sided with citizens who are opposed to moving Moncton High School outside of the city's downtown at a meeting on Monday night.

Councillors say a public forum is needed before decisions are made on Moncton High's future

Moncton council offered its endorsement to the ongoing opposition to building the new Moncton High School outside of the city’s downtown.

More than 100 people showed up at a city council meeting on Monday night to add their voices to those challenging the Department of Education’s decision to move the high school to the Royal Oaks location.

For the first time all 10 councillors spoke out against the proposed development.

Coun. Steven Boyce said provincial officials haven't been transparent in their decision to move the school.

"If this provincial government wants to put this school in Royal Oaks, it'll go down in history as their mistake," Boyce said.

City councillors agreed a public forum with the provincial government is needed before things go any further.

Before the members of the crowd took their message into council chambers they gathered outside of Moncton City Hall to show their frustration.

They were dressed in Moncton High's deep purple and waved signs showing their opposition to the proposal.

Daniel Richards, a Moncton High alumni, asked city council to step in and stop the move.

"Why do I as a citizen, have to stand here to fight the province I love. I'm begging the city that I love to stand up," Richards said.

Scott Agnew, the spokesperson for the group Stop the Royal Hoax, asked the city to suspend negotiations with the provincial government involving infrastructure upgrades that would be necessary to build a school at Royal Oaks.

Agnew asked council to demand that the province hold public meetings so people can find out why and how the provincial government decided on the Royal Oaks location.

Ongoing controversy

This is the latest twist to the ongoing controversy.

The Department of Education committed to building a new school after Moncton High School was closed in 2010 over health and safety concerns.

The provincial government intends to have the new school ready for students in 2013.

The provincial government chose a parcel of land near the Royal Oaks subdivision, which is off of Elmwood Drive, last July.

Many Moncton residents have criticized the location because it is too far from the city’s downtown.

But the controversy took another turn when a Toronto developer announced plans to build a subdivision around the school.

However, Romspen announced late last week that it was dropping its request to city council to rezone land for a Royal Oaks subdivision in Moncton.

A company official said it would focus on its projects on other land. The official said the proposal was coming at a difficult time for councillors considering the upcoming May 14 municipal election.