| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012 06:00 am
Mayor Nolan Crouse didn’t hold back Monday night in sharing his thoughts on Canterra’s refusal to allow a high school to be built in Kingswood.
With council passing a motion that would essentially stop any future proposals from Canterra being approved unless it included plans for a park, Crouse said Canterra was giving developers a bad name for casting high school students as somehow undesirable.
“I think Canterra’s position taints all developers in Alberta,” Crouse said. “It is an absolute shame the developer says, ‘I want students in one area educated in another area of a community.’ I think it’s a total shame, especially that it’s high school kids. What a terrible position.”
But Murray Brown, the president of Canterra, didn’t deny the fact his company sees a high school of any kind — regional or otherwise — as undesirable.
“It would be a high school, which means teenagers,” Brown said. “Do you think they would make for great neighbours for all the families that live in Kingswood? In any single-family area?
“In our opinion, they don’t make for great neighbours. I think that’s our assessment of how we feel about teenagers in general so that’s … I don’t really want to comment any more than that.”
The comments came after council voted on one of two recommendations put forward by administration in its ongoing fight to get Canterra to build a park or relinquish the title to the proposed park/school site area to the city.
Administration, which had previously tried to amend the area structure plan until ordered to stop by council, instead brought forward two recommendations — one that council pass a motion encouraging the subdivision granting authority not to approve any more applications by Canterra unless parkland is included.
But Brown said he’s told the city there will not be any more development until the matter is resolved.
“That was five years ago,” Brown said. “So the motion just passed is not going to affect our plans.”
A second recommendation — that council begin $75,000 worth of work to update the parks master plan for the area — was not brought forward by any member of council.
Curtis Cundy, general manager of planning and engineering, said staff was recommending the city start the update now so that once the parkland became available, any updates were ready to go. He said it could take as long as 18 months.
But no one on council wanted to put that matter to a vote.
“It still wouldn’t resolve the issue,” said a frustrated Coun. Cathy Heron, the one councillor who has pushed hardest to try to solve the impasse. Instead council asked for a summary of the original parks master plan, with Crouse adding council might decide something at budget.
The motion council passed, however, does not solve the outstanding issue — Kingswood residents have been without a park since the subdivision was first built. Canterra has said it will not build a park as long as the school site is considered for a high school.
An attempt to amend the area structure plan to allow both uses earlier this summer was stopped after residents voiced their displeasure with several different elements at an open house.
Heron did not hide her frustration with the ongoing stalemate.
“This is so ridiculously frustrating and if I could swear, I would,” she said.
She admitted the city’s direction to the subdivision authority was weak because it could mean five or 10 years until Canterra brings something forward.