I am on record, repeatedly I believe as being against the movement of Moncton High out to the Royal Oaks development. My personal preference has always to rebuild on the present location keeping the heritage of the existing facade while building an improved interior to bring the school up to todays standards.
My issues with Royal Oaks are numerous. The distance, lack of facilities within walking distance, lack of municipal bus service, cost of infrastructure upgrades, the list could go on for a while.
So the question is why does the province insist on building there? Part of the answer to me appears not to be payoffs and backroom deals like are talked about. It is far more benign and yet far more problematic.
The province to my understanding was involved in financing this project and as a stakeholder if the company went under they could get stuck with a white elephant golf course that no one can make profitable and a housing project that no one can seem to make work. The solution in the provinces mind is to build the school there and try to attract additional home buyers through that angle. The hope being that they will not get stuck with this project if it goes bust for a second time.
It won’t work. The homes are not priced for the average buyer and for some reason the golf course is not the attraction it was expected to be. The reason for that was identified a few years ago however the fix is expensive and unappealing to any of the stakeholders.
The fix to making the golf course more appealing is to redesign the course. The design put in place by the original designer does not attract people and history is starting to show that this is the same for all of this designer’s courses in Canada. We need to get a new designer who has designed courses in Canada that have been profitable and we need to start a complete rebuild of this project. Unfortunately the cost is far in excess of what the builders, or anyone else, wants to pay but it is likely the only way this project is going to become profitable. Putting the school out there will do nothing more then be a Band-Aid that will prove quickly to not be able to mend the damage that has already been done on the location.
To the province, To the developer, Fix the real problem, the golf course design. Don’t drag this school into this fight.
To the City of Moncton. Grow a backbone, Stand up, Make it exceedingly clear that not only will we not approve the rezoning but we will also not approve the construction permits either. Make it clear we will make every effort in our legal ability to make sure within our city the province will operate by our rules not continually dump projects where they feel like it and constantly messing up our municipal plan that is in place.
If the Mayor and the Councillors of this fine city are unwilling to stand up to the province then perhaps it is time for them to stand down, they have obviously lost their passion for the city they are trying to serve.