A company that operates a stone quarry in the Montreal borough of Anjou is worried about a plan to build a high school 130 metres away from its site.
The school is set to welcome 2,000 teenagers by September 2024, responding to the needs of the growing community.
A spokesperson for the company says they are concerned about the safety of the students considering the industrial site has rock walls 10 metres high.
"It's like putting a school next to the Grand Canyon," said Lafarge company spokesperson Jessica Assaf.
In addition, around 800 trucks pass through the area each day.
The quarry is one of the biggest industrial sites on the island of Montreal. Opened in 1909, Lafarge is also pointing to the potential disruption of noise generated by the unloading of trucks during school hours.
The land chosen for the school is in a vacant lot at the end of the residential zone and the beginning of the industrial area near the Roger Rousseau Community Centre.
The company is particularly worried about students coming onto the site and getting injured.
"With the start of the pandemic, groups of teenagers were coming onto the site more often," said Assaf. "We believe that with a school built next door, it will happen even more."
No better spot available
The spot was chosen by the Education Ministry and the school board for Pointe-de-l'Île.
After conducting several site studies, a spokesperson for the Ministry said officials remain convinced that the choice is "appropriate".
"This project is a priority for the government considering the desperate need of the students in this area," said Bryan St-Louis, a spokesperson for the Education Ministry.
The government said that it will work with stakeholders to determine "mitigation measures" in order to "guarantee beyond any doubt a healthy and safe environment for the occupants of the future school."
According to the Ministry it's rare to find a vacant lot that can accommodate the construction of a school of this size in the area.
Anjou Mayor Luis Miranda echoes this, saying that "finding a space that could fit [a school] is difficult."
"If I don't take this land to make a high school, I will have to take a park," said the mayor.
Miranda said that measures will be put in place to ensure safety, including building a separate road to the school that doesn't include access to the quarry.
"It would be a road that would be completely fenced and the quarry will have to be fenced as well, because right now it's not."
For its part, the Lafarge company plans to invest in security cameras and guard to keep teens from wandering into the site.