Disclaimer: I have no children that went to Moncton High or will go to that school. This post is a letter to the editor of the T&T with a few extra comments and images.
It’s not so easy to be green. A recent article suggesting that a high school replacement at Royal Oaks would be “green” lacks some perspective. It is over 7 km distant from the existing Moncton High. It is over 3 km to the nearest residential populations making it necessary to bus virtually all students for the lifetime of the school. Extra-curricular activities will require that parents pick up their children with a car. That’s the opposite of eco-friendly.
A recent Canadian military report Army 2040: First Look, suggests that “Global reserves of crude oil could become problematic by 2025.” Others believe the problem is already here and that all of our major capital decisions, like this, should consider this fact. In simple language – the world is going to change dramatically and the majority of students will be walking to schools in the future. The Department of Education should be planning for schools on this basis.
Moncton has been consulting with its residents about the type of city that we want and need in the future. “Plan Moncton” is the process. (Sustainability, increased density, better urban transportation) How will we transfer those ideas into reality if we accept proposals which are formulated primarily to meet the needs of a developer? Moving the school away from the area that it serves promotes urban sprawl and a vehicle-centered life whose future is ending.
I’ve been told that a new school is considerably cheaper than a renovation project. If that is a primary motivation, a new school could be built adjacent to the existing school on Church Street as the property is large enough. A transfer of some architectural elements to the new building would preserve the memories of the past but permit an overall energy footprint that truly is green.