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City recommends approval for Westgate school expansion project despite community opposition
The city's board of adjustment has recommended Westgate Mennonite Collegiate's expansion plans be approved, despite the pleas of several area residents.
Nearly 100 people packed a public meeting Wednesday night, voicing their concern over the expansion of the private school in the Westgate area.
Officials from Westgate Mennonite Collegiate met with the city's board of adjustment Wednesday to outline plans to add about 1,400 square feet of new space to their existing facilities.
But they weren't the only ones presenting to the board -- a coalition of community members in opposition to the plans outlined their concerns as well.
"We thought the issue had been resolved in 2008. The city made it clear to the school that they could not expand," said Thomas Macleod of the Westgate Coalition.
Macleod said he bought a property in the area because he was assured the school wasn't going to get any bigger. But four years later, the school has applied to expand again.
The expansion plans include the addition of a fitness room and atrium to the school and will cost an estimated $7 million. The school said the expansion is needed to better serve their 340 students.
"We're trying to provide more programming space for the students we have," said Ralph Regehr of the Westgate Redevelopment Committee.
Residents said they aren't against the school but are concerned the expansion will mean increased enrolment and make existing traffic problems in the area worse.
"They do need to grow, but as you can see, we don't have the space to grow," said Rob Stewart of the Westgate Coalition.
"More space means more students means more disruptive traffic and more dangerous traffic," said Macleod.
Despite the concerns, the city is recommending approval on the condition that the school creates a traffic loop in front of the school to minimize congestion. The city also wants to see the number of special events at the school after hours to 15 per year.
An appeal can still be filed over the board of adjustment's decision.
-- with a report from CTV's Jillian Taylor