Halifax to hold consultations on using parkland for proposed Clayton Park school

·2 min read

Halifax regional council will hold public consultations on a request from the province to buy parkland to build a new school.

The parkland is located next to Park West, an existing school in Clayton Park West that's overcrowded. Park West was opened in 2000 and was designed for 560 students. There are currently close to 900 students and the school has set up nine portables.

"This is a wonderful opportunity," said Coun. Iona Stoddard. "We have a chance to work with our staff and the province to get some badly needed infrastructure."

The new school would accommodate 700 pre-primary to Grade 8 students. An existing soccer field would remain, but a wooded area would be affected.

Stoddard acknowledged that some residents have concerns about the loss of parkland, bussing and traffic, as well as the safety of pre-primary children in the area.

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That's why city staff decided community consultations should be done, even though the province does have the ability to exempt itself from such a process.

"All that is legally required is notification in the newspaper," said Denise Schofield, executive director of parks and recreation for the city. "But the fact that this is a piece of parkland, we asked, and they agreed to do a true consultation."

Provincial officials first showed interest in the site in June 2020 and sent a formal request to city officials in December asking the site selection process be expedited due to enrolment increases.

Some councillors wondered if selling the land to the province is the best option and asked about leasing it instead.

"We are not taking the lease option off the table," said chief administrative officer Jacques Dube. "There are also ongoing discussions about swapping various parcels of land."

Halifax officials were not sure when the public consultations will take place.