Lions Park recommended as West Highlands site

Darrell Cole
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Recommendation to come to CCRSB next week

Lions Park on Hickman Street has been recommended as the preferred site for a new West Highlands Elementary.

AMHERST – A new elementary school for West Highlands has taken a huge step forward with the selection of the Lions Park as the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board’s preferred location.

The West Highlands site selection committee presented its recommendations to the board’s committee-of-the-whole meeting in Truro last night selecting the 6.88-acre park as the top priority.

The recommendations will go before the school board’s regular meeting next Wednesday. If approved by the board, the recommendation will be submitted to the provincial government.

A 22-acre property on Russell Street, called Victoria Crossing Limited, is the second site and the Harold Lusby property, a 12-acre site on West Victoria Street, is the third preferred site.

The committee likes the Lions property because it’s located in the centre of the school’s catchment area, would allow students to walk to school without crossing two of the main arterial streets in Amherst and would eliminate the need for busing.

There is also easy access to all services, including three-phase power, water and sewer and sidewalks.

“Although slightly smaller in size than the 7.5 acres required, the committee feels that it is adequate,” the committee’s report to the board said. “There is additional land bordering the site which may be purchased. The Amherst Lions have offered to approach the property owner to discuss acquisition. This would bring the total area to 7.74 acres.”

The committee said negatives include its smaller size, its proximity to the industrial park, concrete plant and railway, drainage problems in one corner and its unusual configuration.

The Victoria Crossing property at 100 Russell St. borders on the school’s catchment area, is accessible from three streets and has access to services. However, the committee said, it borders the marsh in a windy area and is located on the outer area of the catchment route away from major traffic routes. There are also concerns with a contaminated property within 250 metres and safety concerns with the lower side’s exposure to the marsh.

The Lusby property, one of the sites rejected by Education Minister Ramona Jennex last year, is also at the edge of the school’s catchment area and has access to power, water and sewage services. However, there are concerns with its proximity to the Sprott Power wind farm, wind conditions and drainage at the lower level that slopes to the marsh.

“Sixty per cent or more of the students would be bused to school. The property straddles the town-county boundary, possibly complicating dialog regarding services, sidewalks and other areas of responsibility,” the report said.

A fourth site, Cumberland Ridge Development and Roymac behind West Victoria Street and Colin Court, was not recommended. Its positives included its size (16.15 acres), central location and relatively even terrain. Negatives included its proximity to an asphalt plant, possible soil contamination, no sidewalk access and concerns with drainage and air and noise pollution.

That property was also rejected by the province last year.


Organizations: Central Regional School Board, Victoria Crossing

Geographic location: West Highlands, Lions Park, AMHERST West Victoria Street CCRSB Chignecto Truro Russell Street Lusby

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Recent comments

  • Jason
    October 12, 2012 - 07:53

    "there are no sidewalks at all around the Lions Park " ummm....actually there is...

  • Lacy
    October 07, 2012 - 07:34

    I think that people are misunderstanding what is going to happen. the school needs a place to go so that the kids are safe. if you think about it the school going to the lions park is a safe area. the streets are not busy there for the kids do not have to worry about the cars as much as the other sites would. also one of the other sites they would have to bus the students. what sence does that make ? when they can put it somewhere that the kids can walk. and as for the contaminated land. everyone knows about it . well maybe not people new to the area but it is know. i think that the lions park area is a good choice, because it is safe and it will be a new school which is badly needed. No matter where it is put .it is needed and as long as the kids get the new school to learn in thats what counts!!!!!!

  • Laughing at the local spin doctors
    October 06, 2012 - 06:59

    IMO It appears this is more about a land deal than about providing the best possible educational facility for the students. The article refers to lack of sidewalks at one rejected property - there are no sidewalks at all around the Lions Park - the article talks about another property being windy; Hello, Any place in Amherst is windy at times - concern about a contaminated site? Please explain, and while they are at it, please inform all the area citizens and home owners about this contamination. Does the selection committee mean the site that has been delisted after remediation and where the CCRSB school busses are currently stored? If a school positioned at the Lions Park means no student will need to cross a main artery street, pray-tell which school are the kids that live on North side of West Victoria ST. going to? How much spin do these guys need to put on their 'selection process'? If this goes through, the area will lose a wonderful, family oriented park that has a very high usage factor. That Park is the contribution of the Lions Club and they should be rightly proud of that contribution to the community - this involvement in land deals and land acquisition and or trade combined with civic politics sure is a situation that has me scratching my head in wonderment. I did hear rumors of some complex scheme, of some kind of land swap and deconstruction of the old Heritage Site school but this is so fuzzy and likely will be so complicated that it will take years - if ever - to deliver. Congratulations to the selection committee for going down what is likely the most costly path to start the process to provide a school which will be even more unsuitable for purpose than the Spring Street school. West Amherst citizens deserve better.

  • natasha
    October 05, 2012 - 18:25

    I believe the suggestion was that the park would go on the property the current school is on. Don't quote me on that though.

  • kim kaiser
    October 04, 2012 - 18:39

    If the West Highland school goes to Lions Park, where does the Lions Park go?? Do the kids have to walk under the subway , across the busy Albion st. then down another road to go to a park. Is this route not a dangerous one? I believe that more thought should go into this and maybe people should have the say in this matter, not only the school board. The Lions Park is the only park in this neighbourhood. It would be a shame if kids didn't have a park in their own neighbourhood and this park has been here for years.

    • askhim
      October 06, 2012 - 20:43

      Doesn't it make sense to switch places with the park? School goes to Lion's Park and the Park goes to where the school is? Sounds like a good idea to me!!! I think the Lion's Park is the best area.