By Mark Squibb
September 22, 2023 Edition
Paradise Mayor Dan Bobbett along with Town CAO Lisa Niblock met with Premier Andrew Furey and Minister of Education Krista Lynn Howell on Monday to lobby for a high school in Paradise.
“He was very open and welcoming, and we had some good discussions,” said Bobbett. “I outlined the need for a high school in Paradise, along with the statistical information to back that up.”
Bobbett said it was a positive meeting, and he is looking forward to the next provincial budget, noting that monies for a new school would have to be earmarked by the province.
“I’m glad to see that you had an opportunity to meet with the premier and lobby for a new school here in Paradise,” said councillor Deborah Quilty, who thanked Bobbett for also “poking at the Premier,” in regard to the need for better exits and entrances onto Topsail Road to help quell traffic issues there.
Bobbett had previously met with Howell to discuss the need for a high school last month.
Some 1,100 students are bused out of Paradise to attend high schools in neighbouring communities each morning.
For years a new high school was priority number one on the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) infrastructure priority list.
The provincial government’s decision in 2022 to bypass the priority list and fund construction of a new school in Portugal Cove-St. Phillips left councillors seething.
The move, which reportedly left even former district CEO Tony Stack scratching his head, only served to redouble efforts by council to get provincial government funding for a high school, efforts that began some 20 odd years ago.