LANTZ: For many community members fighting to save two local schools, Maple Ridge Elementary and Shubenacadie Elementary, from closure, recent talks about construction of a new interchange in Lantz, seemed to bring a bit more hope to their cause.
Hants East Liberal MLA Margaret Miller spoke with The Weekly Press late January confirming an announcement was in the near future. But with the School Option Committee holding their final public meeting to discuss options on Feb. 23, prior to an official announcement on an interchange, many have been left wondering if this new development will come to fruition in time to help.
Miller confirmed again on Feb. 23 that the announcement is still on its way, and will be made in time to be taken into final considerations.
“As far as I know everything is still on course, I’m expecting that we will be making a definitive statement before the reports have to go to the school board,” said Miller.
“I’ve talked to the chair of the SOC and made her aware that I expect the information to be forthcoming before she needs to to present her report and that seems not to be an issue.”
The SOC held three public advisory meetings in accordance with the Provincial Review Policy, the committee now has until March 13 to make their final recommendation to the school board. The board will make their final decision by April 26.
“It’s my goal that that information is presented in a timely way to make sure that they can make their decisions with all the information they have,” she said.
Miller said the new interchange plays a big role in the fight to save the schools, it will bring with it major developments to the area with hundreds of new homes in the plans. Closing the schools could make the new neighborhoods less attractive, and attracting and retaining young families more difficult.
“The thought of either of these schools closing, is defeating, it’s defeating the communities that they are in,” Miller said. “If we’re going to have development in East Hants we need to know that we have good strong schools in those communities and closing either of those schools is not the solution to that.”