A Lacombe Park resident is vexed that St. Albert Public Schools has parked some old portables by his back fence for almost two months.
Al Cheyne, a long-time resident of St. Albert who lives next to Ronald Harvey Elementary, called the Gazette this week with concerns about four large portable classrooms from that school that had been parked behind his home since early July.
The portables, which are the size of small homes and have been surrounded by security fences, are about 1.5 metres from his back fence and block his view of and access to Langley Park. His neighbours are similarly affected.
“It’s been there now about six weeks,” he said, speaking from his backyard.
Ronald Harvey got seven new portables to replace four that were about 42 years old, said principal Randy Roszell. The units are meant to address overcrowding at the school.
The company that delivered the portables was also supposed to remove the old ones, but couldn’t do so right away as it had other units for other schools to ship and set up for this fall, said St. Albert Public Schools spokesperson Paula Power in an email.
“We didn’t have any other options than to use this company for removal, so the old portables were placed on the school site where they would cause the least amount of disruption to the playground and the neighbourhood,” Power said.
Cheyne said he got a notice about the new portables earlier this year, but that the notice did not mention that the old ones would be placed by his back fence for six to seven weeks. Had he known this would have happened, he would have opposed the move.
Cheyne questioned why the portables were not removed at the same time the new ones arrived and why the old ones were not put elsewhere in the large area behind the school.
Power said the board didn’t immediately remove the old portables when they were moved as they wanted a back-up if the replacements didn’t arrive on time.
“We didn’t think to advise residents about the placement of the old ones because we knew it would be temporary.”
Cheyne said he raised his concerns with board officials and was disappointed by what he described as their often-inconsistent response.
Power said the old portables should be removed by the end of the month.
Roszell said crews were hard at work setting up the new portables this week and should have them ready for the start of school.
“It’ll be all ready to go in 24 hours time,” he said Thursday.
The new units are brighter, better looking, and bigger than the old ones, Roszell said. They’re also much more quiet – you could actually hear the murmurs of the teacher next door in the old ones – and come with air conditioning.
Roszell said the school still had another four vintage portables that it hoped to eventually replace.