All it took was a phone call.
A community is getting a brand new school that the school board hadn’t even requested after their MLA, Tourism Minister Bill Dooks, called the Education Department.
Deputy minister of education Dennis Cochrane said yesterday that Dooks asked the province to look into whether building a new school would be a better move rather than just renovating Lakeview Consolidated Elementary, as the school board had requested.
“(He) asked at that point, as (MLAs) have in other areas, whether or not the renovation project would be better as a new school,” Cochrane said yesterday.
Cochrane said the call prompted the department to analyze the costs of renovating versus building a new Lakeview Consolidated Elementary.
Building fresh was determined to be a better investment.
The decision has been widely condemned by critics who say the $10.4 million investment is an example of party politics.
Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage NDP MLA Becky Kent said the move “reeks of unfairness.”
She and her predecessor have long lobbied for a high school in Eastern Passage, and made numerous calls to the Education Department about the issue, she said. “I’m more frustrated and more determined to hold our minister of education and that department accountable for all the ridings,” Kent said.
Cochrane said the decision means the schedule for new school construction and renovations will be adjusted because of an extra $3 million required to build a new Lakeview Consolidated Elementary.
How much money will be allotted to construction projects on the province’s list of approved schools will be announced in today’s budget.