By Wendy MacDonald
The topic of choosing a site for a new school for Mainland North has come to light once again. With increasing HRM population, many schools within the Halifax West Family of Schools are crowded and new development in the region continues. Many sites could be considered for a new community school.
One such site is Seton Ridge, the former Motherhouse lands, which is planned to house 7000 new residents. This site would be ideal: a complete community where people can live, work, play and learn! It is walkable from surrounding neighbourhoods. The adjacent MSVU would benefit with classrooms for their student teachers’ practicum days.
However, this site and others are, we are told, not possible. Instead, a small wooded HRM parkland, designated Park West School Park, is currently the suggested site. Earlier community feedback (69%) said no! This green space is bounded by the popular Mainland North Trail, Radcliffe Drive, Raleigh Court, Lanshaw Close and Berkshire which all enjoy the wooded buffer. It is a biodiverse park, home to deer, birds and other wildlife. The site has a watercourse, gullies, granite boulders, trails, and lots of trees; it is a popular site for exploring nature like so many of us enjoyed while growing up.
The adjacent green space, recently downgraded from a serviced field, is to be shared with Park West School but requires safety fencing as well as a rebuild to enable safer use by all ages.
Our mayor, on returning from the November 2021 international COP 26 meeting, bragged about green HRM, our city of trees and parks, so important during our Climate Emergency. Indeed, he stated that “Halifax has an opportunity to take a leadership role in the area of nature- based climate solutions. These include… the protection of green space.” HRM’s new mantra is HalifACT, Acting on Climate Together. Retention of trees and parks is important: trees help our mental health, provide a cooling effect as summers get hotter, store carbon, and maintain habitat for nature.
This site is not large enough for a new school; mandated assets include age-appropriate playgrounds, safe pedestrian passage, staff parking, bus turning space, outdoor classroom, etc. Other sites, preferably a brownfield, should be revisited. This site is not for sale, we need it for our children and grandchildren of tomorrow. Please write the Mayor and Councillors before the February 7 Council Meeting. Let’s Act on Climate Together!
Learn more & sign the petition by Feb. 2: https://www.thepetitionsite. com/takeaction/595/315/295/
Mainland North Residents – Wendy McDonald, Bob Manzer & Charlene Boyce