Brought down today by the Liberal government earlier, the budget cut into any construction plans for education projects, specifically in the Conception Bay North region.
As a result, planning for the replacement of the 60-year-old facility has been deferred for three years.
The news isn’t sitting well with Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood. He’s been championing the cause for a new school for the last number of years.
“I’m feeling a sense of anger and disappointment with the news,” said the mayor. “Isn’t it just ironic that three years will bring us close to the next election again?
“You can’t help but feel like we’re … I don’t know how to feel about it. That’s what I was afraid of, that we’d have another announcement just in time for another election.”
Money for the design and land acquisition for the replacement was included in the previous two budgets presented by the Conservative government.
Land had been acquired alongside Amalgamated Academy in the community and there was even a sign installed on the land earmarked for the project.
Coley’s Point Primary is bursting at the seams with a school population that runs in the vicinity of 360 children. There are concerns with airflow, possible mold in the basement and the usage of space in a way it was not originally intended. Things like using the cafeteria and other rooms as classrooms to accommodate students.
Earlier this year, the Bay Roberts town council tabled a letter that will see portable classrooms used at the school to handle the overflow of students. Those are expected to take up much of the small playground space at the far end of the school.
“Coley’s Point gets older and for another three years, the children and the staff have to put up with a facility that is totally inadequate,” said Wood. “I’m extremely upset by the news.”
Coley’s Point suffered the same fate as planned schools in Paradise (high school, Grade 5-8 school), Gander (reconstruction K-3) and Shoal Harbour.
“I think it’s fair to say the children (of the area) have been let down,” said Wood.