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Potential location selected and $2.5 million set aside for Stratford Community Campus

The Stratford Town Centre
The Stratford Town Centre - Daniel Brown
STRATFORD, P.E.I. —

Coun. Derek Smith was going into council's recent decision on the Stratford Community Campus project with a single question on his mind.

"Will this be a success or a failure?"

The project was discussed during council's monthly meeting at Stratford Town Centre on Sept. 9. A potential area for where to construct it was recommended and the cost to secure it was going to be about $2.5 million.

Coun. Jill Burridge has been involved with the project since it was first proposed in 2016.

Stratford councillor Jill Burridge speaks during a monthly council meeting at Stratford Town Centre on Sept. 9. - Daniel Brown
Stratford councillor Jill Burridge speaks during a monthly council meeting at Stratford Town Centre on Sept. 9. - Daniel Brown

"It was a big reason why I got on council (in 2018)," she said. "This was one of my priorities."

The campus would see a high school built in Stratford so that students don't have to commute over to neighbouring schools, such as those in Charlottetown which are already at high capacity. A wider range of public schools may be included down the road, and community infrastructure, such as recreational facilities, would be constructed there for the town to make use of, Burridge said.

"Essentially, it's just finding a space to put all these items together," she said.

Out of four considered locations, Burridge and a special committee recommended that council attain about 170 acres of land - located between Bunbury Road and the Stratford Business Park off the Trans Canada - for the campus.


AT A GLANCE:

Reasons that the 170-acre property was recommended to construct the campus on include:

  • It would allow for multiple access points to enter and exit the campus.
  • It would allow access to much of Stratford's core area.
  • It has a level surface area with few hills.

The land in question is owned by two separate parties - Robert and Paul Farquharson, and 101523 P.E.I. Inc. No purchasing agreement has been signed yet, as council's decision was simply whether to allocate the funding from the town's budget and make an offer on the land.

"To put the money in the pot to go firm that up," Burridge said.

Smith's main concerns behind his question was whether the location would last the campus for the long term and whether it would help foster Stratford's continued growth or not. In the end, he decided he would be voting in favour, he said.

"I'm choosing the side of hope."

Most councillors were enthusiastic as they ultimately moved to approve the decision. 

"A lot of time and effort went into this. This is very big for our town."

- Coun. Darren MacDougall

Staff with the town of Stratford livestream council's monthly meeting at Stratford Town Centre on Sept. 9. - Daniel Brown
Staff with the town of Stratford livestream council's monthly meeting at Stratford Town Centre on Sept. 9. - Daniel Brown

"A lot of time and effort went into this," Coun. Darren MacDougall said. "This is very big for our town."

An agreement in principle has already been reached with both landowners to purchase the properties for a total amount of $2,419,279, excluding HST. So, $2.5 million will be drawn from a supplementary capital budget to take care of additional costs such as rezoning applications and surveying.

If purchased, the plan would be to then sell a portion of the land to the province for the new high school, and another portion to the Business Park so it can expand, for a total of about $844,000. That would bring the town's net cost to about $1,656,000.

Mayor Steve Ogden said that ensuring the campus' longevity was a major consideration in selecting this location, and he doesn't foresee the project impacting tax rates for Stratford residents.

"It wasn't easy to reach this point, but we looked at it from every angle," he said.

"It's a milestone, for sure," Burridge added.

Daniel Brown is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government.

Twitter.com/dnlbrown95

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