School expansion plan draws controversy
Published Thursday, February 7, 2013 9:07AM CST
Last Updated Thursday, February 7, 2013 10:41AM CST
A plan to expand one school in the Pembina Trails School Division is drawing criticism from homeowners in another part of the Division who say they’re being overlooked.
The controversy comes because the expansion at Bonnycastle School would come before a new school is built in Waverly West.
Parents took the opportunity to voice their opinions at an open house Wednesday night.
“I just don’t see the expansion,” said Yass Marandi, who lives in Bridgewater Forest.
Marandi and Hooman Shirazi have been bringing their children to Bonnycastle for the past two years, because there still isn’t a school built in their neighbourhood.
“Although it’s good, I just don’t see it as a solution,” she said.
The province says it plans to build four kindergarten-to-Grade 8 schools in Waverly West, but those plans have not been finalized.
City councilor Justin Swandel says the province has been talking about that plan for years. He blames the delays solely on money and not need.
“What they’re doing right now is taking a pure budget approach to building schools,” Swandel said.
Manitoba’s Education Minister says that’s not the case.
“I’m spending money on building eight classrooms in a 74-space childcare,” Nancy Allen said. “I’m spending money and I’ve committed to building a school in Waverly West.”
The Superintendent of the Pembina Trails School Division says it cannot build a new school and hopes there will be enough students to fill it. Under its mandate it must first prove there are enough children already living in the area before approval for construction can be given.
“There has to be a population to justify building a school before the school is built,” Lawrence Lussier said. “That’s the parameter we work with.”
Lussier says up until very recently, that wasn’t the case.
A school is expected in Waverly West by the year 2015.
The new classroom at Bonnycastle, is scheduled to be ready by next year.
-With a report from CTV’s Caroline Barghout.