Pembina Trails School Division held an open house at École R.H.G. Bonnycastle School last month to discuss proposed classroom and childcare additions.
In the days before the open house, residents of Waverley West and the surrounding area received a notice from Coun. Justin Swandel (St. Norbert) which noted the negative impacts of the proposal and suggested that residents attend the open house to share their thoughts on the expansion and other upcoming plans.
Swandel was present at the open house and addressed the school division’s plans to add 84 daycare spaces and eight permanent classrooms to Bonnycastle School.
Swandel noted that this differs from what was planned for Waverley West in the past.
"Waverley West is already a mature community with existing traffic and safety concerns at Bonnycastle," he said.
Swandel said he had received some complaints and concerns from area residents.
"The biggest concern I get is the traffic and pedestrian safety issue. Second to that is Waverley West parents feeling that this addition is being done to avoid building a school in their neighbourhood."
Swandel would like to see changes that benefit Waverley West along with the surrounding regions.
"I would prefer to see the daycare space added at Bonnycastle with improvements to traffic flows and pedestrian safety. Any classroom space should be accommodated in Waverley West, preferably in Bridgewater Forest to start," he said.
Swandel said his notice was not an attack on provincial MLAs or school trustees, but was meant to be part of the discussion of a "well thought-out policy approach that respects existing communities and delivers quality education to all."
Swandel hopes that this can be achieved by residents of Waverley West openly communicating with MLAs, Pembina Trail administration and school trustees.
"The best contacts are the school trustees and the division administration," he said. "In addition, the MLA’s Dave Gaudreau (St. Norbert) and Brian Pallister (Fort Whyte) are good contact points."
The notice included contact information for the school board administration and trustees along with the MLAs for the area.
Swandel also asked Waverley West residents to contact his office directly at 204-986-6824 or by visiting his website at www.swandel.ca.
Kristi Anaka is a community correspondent for Waverley West. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.