Nova Scotia

Propane concern delays school opening

A new $19-million school in Kentville, N.S., won't open until the propane tanks nearby are removed, the province announced Thursday.

Explosion could create 'flaming projectiles': consultant

A new $19-million school in Kentville, N.S., won't open until the propane tanks nearby are removed, the province announced Thursday.

The Kings County Academy — which is 84 metres from a Superior Propane tank depot — was originally supposed to open after the spring break.

"We made the decision that it was best to hold off opening the school until September, until the tanks are removed," said Lavinia Parrish-Zwicker, the chair of the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board.

The 575 students who were scheduled to move into the new building will simply stay in their existing building for now, she said.

An assessment of the potential of an explosion near Kings County Academy showed "cause for concern," the province said in a news release.

"The impact of human exposure within this 84-metre vicinity (distance from the tank to the school building) is that full thickness skin burns (third degree burns) would be expected to occur on any exposed skin surfaces," says a risk assessment report prepared by Peake Design Ltd. Mechanical Consultants.

"There is also the potential for being hit by flying projectiles. The impact on nearby buildings is that ignition of combustible materials is possible if struck by a flaming projectile."

The province selected the site two years ago following a promise from the town of Kentville that it would acquire the land and remove the tanks.

Fred Cumby, a parent at Kings County Academy, is happy the board opted for safety but said he wants the tanks removed soon.

"The concerns are two-fold. One is obviously the safety aspect of it and the perception of it, and two is that's where the new green space is supposed to go," he told CBC News.

"That's where the playground is going to be located and the soccer field, plus an additional space. So while those tanks are there, that can't be done."

The town of Kentville has been negotiating with Superior Propane to relocate the tanks to an industrial park nearby, but no deal has been reached.