The Regina Planning Commission turned down a new Harbour Landing West subdivision Wednesday, but pushed for priority talks regarding a new, already-approved joint-use school in the area.
Dream Development had proposed an amendment to the city's official community plan (OCP) bylaw. It would have revised the OCP to accommodate a new residential area west of Campbell Street in Harbour Landing. A new joint-use elementary school was also part of the proposal to help alleviate capacity constraints in the area's existing school and to serve the proposed new neighbourhood.
However, after much discussion, the planning commission voted nine to one in favour of the city administration's recommendation to go ahead with the school and not the new development.
"The need for a new school is recognized; therefore, the recommendation is that the applications submitted by [Dream Development] be denied and that a separate OCP amendment, to accommodate a school site, be approved," the administration's report read.
École Harbour Landing and St. Kateri Tekakwitha School — which share the same building — opened in 2017. It didn't take long before they reached capacity and school divisions began asking the city and province to build another in the area.
Last year, the Saskatchewan government approved the $40 million joint-use project. It's set to include spots for 400 Regina Public and 250 Regina Catholic students, along with child-care and community-use spaces.
The province and school divisions have since been working with the city to designate a specific area in which it will be built.
Delaine Clyne, Regina Public Schools' supervisor of policy, planning and research, told the commission Wednesday that enrolment at Harbour Landing School increased again this fall, forcing some students to be bused to other south Regina schools.
"We can't even accommodate French immersion right now, and our projections are that there will be more demand on the public [school] system for sure in that area," Clyne told the RPC Wednesday. "We could probably fill a new school right now."
Similar sentiments were echoed by the city's separate school board.
"Any delay to this project would cause increased strain to an already compromised learning environment — and student safety cannot be overlooked," added Vicky Bonnell, chair of the Regina Catholic School Division, at Wednesday's meeting.
While city administrators didn't have a timeline on when the school would be built, they said further talks are expected between the city, Ministry of Education and the owner of the land in which the new school will be built.
"We'll work as diligently as we can to move that forward," said Diana Hawryluk, the executive director of city planning and community development.
City council is expected to continue the discussion when it reconvenes Oct. 27.