CALGARY – Tucked away on 11A Street in Calgary’s northeast is a historic private school that may soon be a condo instead of a home for classrooms.
Bridgeland School is owned by Delta West Academy, but the proposal of a future sale to turn it into an apartment building or condominium has area residents up in arms.
“Schools are valuable. Our children’s futures are valuable,” said area resident Brooke Gillies. “If you take the space away now, you can’t get it back. It’s gone forever.”
The campaign to prevent the deal with an Ontario developer is gaining momentum. Residents are trying to get city council to forego rezoning the land, which is currently designated for a school.
Minto Development Inc. would need that to change. The developer wants to preserve the exterior, gut the inside of the school and build a multi-residential dwelling.
“We’ve got a lot of young families moving in and the loss of a school zone is, I think, what’s really stirred up a lot of people,” said campaign leader Ali McMillan.
The loss of green space and a place to learn has residents in the area putting up lawn signs and taking to social media with their message.
They have the attention of Calgary’s mayor who says the “NINBY” – Not In Nenshi’s Backyard – slogan may not have been the best choice.
“Well you know, I would suggest that if you are attempting to convince people of your point of view…a campaign that can be misconstrued as insulting those people may not be the way to go,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
The Vice Principal of Delta West Academy, Amanda Dennis, reached out to Global News and said there are other schools nearby that are not at capacity.
Dennis said families do have options when it comes to schools in the immediate area. She also pointed out that the space for more students that exists in those schools likely would not attract the Calgary Board of Education as a buyer.
Minto Development Inc., is still in the negotiating stages of the deal.
The rezoning proposal goes before council next month.