Advertisement

Province staying mum on details about 4 new schools planned for HRM

Education Minister Becky Druhan says she still can't say where four new schools planned for the Halifax Regional Municipality will be located.  (Shutterstock - image credit)
Education Minister Becky Druhan says she still can't say where four new schools planned for the Halifax Regional Municipality will be located. (Shutterstock - image credit)

Nova Scotia's education minister still will not say where four new schools she announced last year for Halifax Regional Municipality will be located, or when construction on those projects could begin.

Even when construction does start, however, it's not clear if the new schools will be enough to accommodate the capital region's growing population.

The NDP released an access to information request on Thursday showing the Halifax Regional Centre for Education asked the Education Department in 2022 for six to eight new schools based on increased development and population growth.

The requests were:

  • Pre-primary/Grade 8 school in Southdale/Woodside area.

  • Pre-primary/Grade 8 school in Woodlawn High area.

  • Pre-primary/Grade 8 school in Auburn family of schools area.

  • Grade 9-12 school in Woodlawn family of schools area.

  • Pre-primary/Grade 8 school in Bedford/Sackville area.

  • Pre-primary/Grade 12 school in Bedford/Sackville area.

  • Pre-primary/Grade 6 school in Millwood High family of schools.

  • Pre-primary/Grade 6 school in Bayview High family of schools.

Education Minister Becky Druhan told reporters that the government is still looking for land to purchase for the four new schools and did not want to give more information for risk of driving up costs.

Focus on securing land

There is $50 million budgeted to buy land, but there is no money budgeted for construction. Druhan said money for capital construction would be made available once land is purchased.

"The focus right now is securing the land and as soon as that's done, the rest will flow," she said.

The minister noted that the government is also using modular construction and renovations to address school needs. Druhan said she expects the department would look at building more schools "as the growth continues across Nova Scotia in the years to come."

NDP Leader Claudia Chender said it's frustrating how little information the government has provided about the four schools.

"I think when the government announced four schools they wanted an announcement and there was nothing connected to it, and there's still nothing connected to it."

Chender said the amount of growth happening in Halifax Regional Municipality makes clear that more than four schools are required.

'We've got schools that are bursting at the seams'

Liberal Leader Zach Churchill said the government can't talk about wanting to double the population unless it's prepared to build the infrastructure necessary to keep pace with that goal.

"We've got schools that are bursting at the seams and this government doesn't even have the courtesy to tell people when they're going to get a new school or if they're going to get a new school."

Churchill speculated that the Tories would wait until a politically advantageous time to make an announcement. All of the schools Druhan has announced so far have been in Tory districts.

MORE TOP STORIES