Briana Tomkinson

New middle school could be built on parkland

And then there were none...

A small geographical footprint is both one of New Westminster's charms and one of its challenges. Density is inevitable. Sprawl is not an option. This is great, if you're assessing public transit feasibility or walkability within the city. It means, however, that options are limited when it comes to new development.  

New West has long known it needs new schools. The current high school is in need of upgrades and isn't adequate to house all of the city's kids. The original idea was to rebuild on the same site. The catch? Our secondary school is built on an indian burial ground

It's like something out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I keep expecting some kind of monstrous hell-beast to emerge from a Hellmouth deep in the bowels of the school, threatening to bet all the city's kittens at poker and cursing the local mallrats with syphilis

So, we need new schools. And we can't build them on the site where NWSS has stood for 60 years in case executed Tsilhqot'in warrior Chief Ahan was buried there 144 years ago. 

Something has to give. And that 'something' seems likely to be park land. Three parks are currently being considered for a new middle school site, all in the West End:
While residents would lose some park space (and potentially see more traffic), we have it on good authority that if land for the school is carved out of a park like Grimston, the site would also see upgrades that could offset the loss. 

In any case, this is all still tentative. The city is gathering feedback now, so if you want to learn more about the ghost of Chief Ahan or share your opinions on the new school site, there are some important dates to know (all events at the NWSS library):
  • Oct. 25 (11am, 1 & 3pm)  & Oct. 30 (7pm) (just in time for Halloween!) - Historical research on the cemetery at NWSS. 
  • Nov. 1 (11am, 1 & 3pm) & Nov. 4 (7:30pm) - Public info sessions on middle school options.


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