By David Shuman
Delays continue with replacing Eastern Shore District High (ESDH) as Halifax Regional Center for Education (HRCE) conducts a new round of community consultation more than two years since Education Minister Zach Churchill’s initial announcement of a new high school. The current round of consultation asks for peoples’ opinions on merging Gaetz Brook Junior High with ESDH in one building. The consultation will be open until mid-December.
Critics of Churchill’s plan to replace ESDH were unhappy because the new approval process that Churchill laid out failed to provide an explicit commitment to community consultation in the process, unlike the previous approval process.
In remarks on May 7, 2018 at a meeting to celebrate the announcement of the replacement of ESDH, Churchill was explicit about his intention to avoid getting bogged down with community consultations. “We don’t want to get in a situation like on the peninsula where it’s taken 8 years since that school was on the list to even get started because the community couldn’t agree on site,” Churchill said. “We can’t let that happen. There will be a public input component to the site selection progress, but we’re not going to do it in a way that’s going to prolong it.”
The Cooperator called HRCE for comment, but did not receive a reply by time of publication
In a Facebook post on the new round of consultation, Jean McKenna, a strong advocate for building a new high school, wrote that it was time that HRCE “just get on it with…We are now almost 2 years into the 3 year anticipated construction period for our promised new school,” she wrote. “Get on with it, start building.”
If you would like to comment, the consultation is open until mid-December. For more information on how to participate, go to HRCE website, https://www.hrce.ca/consult.