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New francophone school won't make traffic worse in Riverdale, YESAB says

Of the 15 comments the Yukon environmental assessment board received, 13 dealt with concerns about traffic congestion in the Whitehorse neighbourhood.

The environmental assessment board recommends the $20 million project to go ahead

The proposed design for the new francophone school was presented last year. The goal is start construction next spring, with an opening in late 2020. (Claudiane Samson / Radio-Canada)

Yukon's environmental assessment board says a new francophone high school proposed for Whitehorse should go ahead, despite some public concerns about traffic in Riverdale.

The $20-million facility will be built between the new F.H. Collins school and Selkirk Elementary. If all goes to plan, construction will start next spring and the school will open in late 2020.

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) issued its recommendation on Thursday, and detailed some of the public feedback it received on the project.

Of the 15 comments YESAB received, 13 dealt with concerns about traffic congestion. Some respondents argued that Riverdale already has problems with traffic congestion — especially during "rush hour" times, when traffic bottlenecks at the Robert Campbell Bridge.

YESAB says the new school shouldn't have much of an impact on traffic, though. It points to the Department of Education's commitment to reduce enrolment at other Riverdale schools in the coming years.

"Given that the expected enrolment at the Francophone school will be 86 in 2024, the reduction of at least 100 students from another Riverdale school will more than offset the effects of the Francophone school enrolment," the decision reads.

YESAB also decided that other potential adverse effects — such as noise and dust from the construction — could be controlled with some conditions placed on the project.

YESAB's recommendations now go to the territorial government for final approval. 

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