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Questions remain after traffic and parking study

Erin Ridge residents pack public meeting to offer feedback on draft report

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013 06:00 am

FULL HOUSE – Concerned Erin Ridge residents listen to a presentation at King of Kings Lutheran Church Monday evening. The consultation session was to gather feeback on a recent study into traffic and parking related to a new school proposed for the area.
FULL HOUSE – Concerned Erin Ridge residents listen to a presentation at King of Kings Lutheran Church Monday evening. The consultation session was to gather feeback on a recent study into traffic and parking related to a new school proposed for the area.
APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette

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Some Erin Ridge residents still hope the site choice for the future francophone high school might be rethought.

“I’m saying, not so much to you (the consultants), but I’m saying to the people that run this city … I think it’s the wrong site,” said resident Erwin Simon.

Simon’s comment drew applause from a full house at a public consultation Monday at King of Kings Lutheran Church. The meeting was to gather public feedback on a traffic and parking study undertaken to assess the impact of a new francophone school proposed for Eldorado Park in Erin Ridge.

The meeting began with a presentation by Mark Huberman of Bunt & Associates, the consulting company that did the study. Many attendees then questioned the report and provided feedback on other information they felt should be considered for the final version.

Some residents suggested different traffic volumes be considered and that the traffic and parking impacts of the nearby Citadel Care Centre should have been taken into account. Others had more pointed questions about the study, like whether or not it should have been completed before the exact location of the future high school has been finalized.

Former city councillor Malcolm Parker asked a question that seemed to be on many residents’ minds.

“My question to you is: was it part of your mandate … was there any consideration given to another potential school site that could be used?” Parker asked.

“We were not asked to do that,” Huberman said.

His report did consider moving the site within Eldorado Park, however.

Residents cautioned that unless something is done to address the traffic volume in Erin Ridge, there’s an accident waiting to happen.

“It’s a disaster. Something terrible is going to happen,” said Sandy Scott, who told the crowd she’s nearly been hit a number of times.

“You’ve got to stop the traffic,” said Laurier Ouimet, who pointed out that many people use Eldorado Drive as a shortcut.

Huberman did indicate he’d consider looking into some of the information brought forward by the crowd. When asked about when the traffic count was completed, he said it was within the last few months, but was told en masse by the audience those counts were done before the opening of stage three of Ray Gibbon Drive and the Costco store, which they believe have impacted the traffic.

Huberman was asked if, in his professional opinion, the site was suitable for a school.

“I think the answer for us is yes. I think it is a candidate location for a school,” he said.

Others suggested the report was an attempt to justify the city’s decision to put the school there.

“The report was not really meant, I don’t believe … that it was meant as a justification,” Huberman said.

City manager Patrick Draper was present and called upon to answer whether or not it’s already been decided that the site should shift from the east side to the west side of Eldorado Park.

“The school site is where it says PS,” Draper said, referring to a map that showed the site on the east section of the park where the school is currently zoned to go. “It was just an option.”

Henri Lemire, superintendent of the Greater North Central Francophone Education Region, the district which the high school would belong to, was at the meeting.

After the meeting he said he’s not concerned the school might be moved off of Eldorado Park, saying the city has made it clear that’s the right site.

“It’s an important part of any process,” Lemire said of the public consultation.

An updated version of the report will be presented to city council and residents in early 2014.


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