Money to re­place Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary in next bud­get

Lo­cal MHA ec­static, Bay Roberts mayor un­der­whelmed

The Compass - - Front page - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment is set­ting the wheels in mo­tion to re­place Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary in Bay Roberts.

As part of a launch last Fri­day in St. John’s for gov­ern­ment’s five- year in­fras­truc­ture plan, $750,000 was bud­geted for the 2017-18 fis­cal year to re­place the school, which is 65 years old. In­vest­ment in the project is due an­nu­ally over the next four fis­cal years through to 2020-21.

“Ul­ti­mately, it will take about two years to ac­tu­ally com­plete a school — two-to-three years,” Har­bour GracePort de Grave MHA Pam Par­sons told The Com­pass Fri­day morn­ing, adding it will cost an es­ti­mated $21 mil­lion.

Land near Amal­ga­mated Academy was ex­pro­pri­ated on Eric Dawe Drive in 2015. Par­sons, who at­tended Fri­day’s an­nounce­ment, said no work on the project has been done up to this point.

“This is a start,” she said. “This is very pos­i­tive, and the years are out­lined. It’s here in writ­ing. Peo­ple cer­tainly have to be held ac­count­able that this un­folds as it’s planned here. I cer­tainly have ev­ery in­ten­tion of do­ing that.”

Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood was less en­thused by Fri­day’s news. Ac­knowl­edg­ing it’s nice to see some dol­lar fig­ures at­tached to the project, Wood ad­mit­ted he was hop­ing for more from gov­ern­ment. He noted one new school in Par­adise set to com­mence the plan­ning and de­sign phase has $2 mil­lion at­tached to it for 2017-2018.

“We were ex­pect­ing some­thing more sub­stan­tial … This seems to be more of a de­lay­ing is­sue, be­cause I as­sume that at least half of (the $750,000), or close to half of it, is go­ing to go towards pur­chas­ing the land,” he said.

As of last spring, gov­ern­ment and the for­mer prop­erty owner had not agreed on a price. At a Con­cep­tion Bay North Joint Coun­cil meet­ing last May, Trans­porta­tion and Works Min­is­ter Al Hawkins said the prov­ince had of­fered $550,000, but the per­son the land was ex­pro­pri­ated from wanted $1 mil­lion. Even with­out the set­tle­ment of a fi­nal price tag, gov­ern­ment was in a po­si­tion to work on the land.

“It is a grow­ing school in a grow­ing area, and as I say, I’m dis­ap­pointed,” said the mayor. “This is not just a brand new is­sue. This is­sue has been at the fore­front for the past 15-20 years.”

TC ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

There’s money in the next pro­vin­cial bud­get to re­place Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary in Bay Roberts.

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