The 75-year-old Moncton High School is expected to be replaced with a new school next year.

A Toronto developer has dropped its request to rezone land at Royal Oaks subdivision in Moncton, which includes the future site for the new high school.

Jim Scott, who is piloting Romspen's project for new home development around the high school site, said the rezoning came at a difficult time for councillors — just two months before the municipal elections.

"We knew this was a difficult issue. We're very aware that there is public pressure," Scott said.

A citizens' group has been lobbying to keep the high school downtown.

Scott said that for now Romspen will continue its projects on other land, and the lots around the new school will be postponed for a few years.

"It's likely that we won't be back before council for some period of time. We’re not sure when that is yet," he said.

But City of Moncton spokesman Paul Thomson said Moncton will continue to negotiate with the province for a deal to pay for water and sewer lines to the school, he said, as well as an access road and sidewalks.

"We are discussing with the province and wanting to work with the province with regards to the infrastructure needs that putting a school out there will mean for the city," Thomson said.

He said the province can ignore municipal zoning decisions.

Christina Windsor, a spokeswoman at the Department of Education, said the province will continue with its plans to build the new Moncton High in the Royal Oaks subdivision off Elmwood Drive.

But Windsor said she has no idea how the high school will be connected to Moncton's roads, water and sewer system.

Citizens who object to the school being moved to the outskirts of the city say the province should now back down.

Scott Agnew said that by ignoring municipal zoning the province is being arrogant.

"If the province is going to go ahead regardless of what the citizens think, if they want to ram this down our throats they, of course, can do it," he said.

The Department of Education spent $1.475 million for the property where the school will be located.

Moncton High School was closed in 2010 over health and safety concerns. The provincial government invested $2 million into the 75-year-old facility so students could go back to the school.

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