Moncton council accepts high school deal
Provincial government will cover $12M of costs to build at Royal Oaks
The majority of Moncton council voted Monday to accept a provincial deal to help cover some of the city's costs in building a new Moncton High School at the Royal Oaks subdivision.
The city has opposed the provincial government’s plan to relocate the school to the city’s outskirts in part because of the $30 million it would cost the city for new roads, sewer and water lines.
But the provincial government has now offered to pay part of the cost, said Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc.
"If we refuse it, then we will borrow the millions of dollars, up to $12.8 million to cover the cost that they have offered to pay and then we would ask the taxpayers of Moncton alone and their children to bear the cost of that," he said.
Citizens have requested the new school be located closer to the city’s downtown and the former council had called for a public forum with the provincial government on the matter.
Coun. Dawn Arnold urged council to continue to fight the provincial government’s plan to move the school out to Royal Oaks.
Councillor feels bullied
"I don't think that we should be bullied and I feel like that is what is happening right now," she said.
Fellow Coun. Charles Leger was also opposed.
"We can't seem to stop the government from doing what it wants to do and it has the legal right to do that, but we don't have to agree to it," he said.
Still, Coun. Daniel Bourgeois is pleased the provincial government has agreed to pay slightly more than a third of the costs the city will face.
"Council was consulted this time, not only consulted but we were able to sit at the table to negotiate with the province," he said.
Coun. Paulette Thériault said it's time for the city to move on.
"I think we need to stop whining," she said.
Thériault says the city is growing and the provincial government has agreed to save the old Moncton High by turning it into condos and offices.
Last week, four concerned citizens filed papers with the Court of Queen's Bench, asking for a judicial review of the decision to replace the 77-year-old school with a new building in the Royal Oaks subdivision.
The citizens contend the provincial government is in violation of the Community Planning Act by putting the school outside the serviceable boundaries of the city and are asking the court to quash the decision.
They also want all of the information the government used to make the decision to put the school in Royal Oaks.
The new school is scheduled to open in 2014, a year later than scheduled due to construction delays.
The estimated 1,300 students and staff will remain at the old school until the new building is ready, officials have said.
The new school was announced in February, 2011. The provincial government says it scouted more than 20 potential sites before choosing Royal Oaks in July, 2011.