Members of the public attended the town council meeting on December 4 to have their voices heard at the public hearing regarding the zoning amendment to put a school in where the bottle depot currently resides.
The property at 820 11th Avenue S. is currently zoned as mixed use commercial C2, and would need to be rezoned to community education and culture I2. Council unanimously gave the zoning amendment bylaw its second and third readings after the public hearing closed at the meeting on December 4, but a traffic impact assessment will have to be completed by the property owners before the bylaw can be passed.
Jason Paul, the owner of the Dugout across the street, was concerned that the location might not be the safest spot for a school, citing that there is a lot of semi truck traffic dropping off deliveries on that street and in the back alley, often during typical school hours, and with the addition of Home Hardware on the block, there will be even more truck traffic in the future. He also voiced concerns that the establishment is a liquor primary bar, with its patio less than 100 feet from where the school could be.
“I just don’t think it’s the safest spot to be putting a school,” he said.
Finding a location for the Francophone school hasn’t been easy, explained John Denham, but the Francophone parents, the French school board, the Conseil Scholaire Francophone, and the building owners have been able to make the location work.
“We’re quite excited about this development. It’s proven to be quite the challenge to find the real estate possibilities for a school to be opened in,” Denham said. “What I hope to put forward is that we find solutions so we can keep people as satisfied as possible and celebrate the opening of the Francophone school.”
Neighbouring residents are happy with the prospect of the school opening, Denham said. Francophone parent Caroline Tremblay added that the school would be an upgrade to the area, as it will be more visually appealing.
“I do see the issue with having the Dugout [there], but it’s also a place where families can go with their kids,” Tremblay said. “There’s a church on the other corner, I think it kind of balances things out.”
A traffic impact study will determine any changes that might need to be made to curbing, sidewalks, and signage, which council will have to take into consideration when determining the zoning amendment.
“It won’t be considerate only of what’s happening in the school, but what’s happening in the surrounding area as well,” said Philip Dockerty, who owns the property with his wife and Darren Dusevic. “The traffic impact survey that will be done prior to any rezoning that’s approved will be taking all that sort of thing into consideration.”
If the zoning is approved, the building will be converted into a small school that will include five classrooms, a gym, and an administrative section in the current building. Conseil Scholaire Francophone is a school district that operates Francophone schools across the province.