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Education Minister Adriana LaGrange announces nearly 25,000 new and upgraded spaces for Alberta students


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Investing in new schools, modernized spaces

Alberta’s government is investing $2.3 billion over the next three years, for new and modernized classrooms.

Budget 2023 supports 58 projects, which includes 13 full construction projects, 20 design, 14 planning and 11 pre-planning projects. In total, there will be nearly 25,000 new and additional spaces for students across Alberta – 9,400 new spaces and more than 15,500 student upgraded spaces. This includes approximately 4,500 new and upgraded spaces in Calgary, 4,100 in Edmonton and 16,300 for the rest of the province.

“Alberta’s young learners are the community and business leaders of tomorrow. They need the right spaces to gain the tools and skills needed to prepare for their bright futures. By investing in our schools, we’re investing in our students while at the same time creating more jobs and supporting the local economy.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education

This investment in education infrastructure includes:

  • $372 million for construction and design projects:
    • 10 new schools
    • 16 replacement schools
    • seven modernizations
  • $4 million to support planning activities such as site analysis and scope development for 14 projects
  • $1 million to pre-plan 11 conceptual projects that are anticipated to become high-priority needs for school jurisdictions
  • $1 billion to continue work on previously announced projects
  • $300 million over three years in school authority self-directed capital projects
  • $279 million to support the maintenance and renewal of existing school buildings through the Capital Maintenance and Renewal Program
  • $171 million to support public charter school infrastructure, including investment for a charter hub in Calgary
  • $43 million to fund facility upgrades for successful collegiate school applicants
  • $93 million for the modular classroom program to address urgent space needs across the province

“The Alberta government is investing in critical infrastructure projects that include upgrading and building high-quality schools to ensure Albertans can send their children to schools in their local communities. Our focus is on ensuring these projects are delivered on time, on budget and where they’re needed.”

Nathan Neudorf, Minister of Infrastructure

The availability of suitable sites has been one of the biggest roadblocks causing delays to school projects. That’s why, through Budget 2023, Alberta’s government is creating a new School Planning Program that will serve as a transparent “pipeline” for upcoming school projects to begin as soon as formal construction funding is approved. Fourteen school projects will begin planning and site development through this new program while a further 11 projects will receive pre-planning funding to assist with developing scope options.

The planning program will allow for the further development of project scope and site investigation work. It will also help to clarify potential risks and identify mitigating strategies and costs. The goal is to provide school boards with the resources they need to remove barriers and better position the project for design consideration and construction approval in future budget cycles, which is expected to reduce costs and minimize schedule disruptions and delays.

“The Calgary Catholic Board of Trustees is grateful for the capital projects announced for the Calgary Catholic School District, which includes full funding for the K-9 school in Nolan Hill to serve this rapidly growing community. We anticipate receiving the full construction funding for the Rangeview high school and Chestermere K-9 school as soon as possible, after the design process is completed. These projects need urgent attention given the critical need for school infrastructure and CCSD’s high utilization rate in these communities. CCSD appreciates the pre-planning commitment towards the construction of the K-9 school in Redstone, the addition/enhancement of Bishop McNally High School and the construction of a new west-end high school.”

Cathie Williams, board chair, Calgary Catholic School District

“On behalf of CBE students and their families, we thank the Government of Alberta for the capital plan announcement. These extraordinary and timely investments in infrastructure are vital to support student learning opportunities within our system.”

Laura Hack, board chair, Calgary Board of Education

“This is an exciting day for Elk Island Public Schools, for the community and especially for students of both École Campbelltown and Sherwood Heights Junior High. A modern, well-equipped and efficient building will allow us to continue to offer the quality education students need to succeed in the classroom and will help ease the growth pressures we are facing in Sherwood Park.”

Trina Boymook, board chair, Elk Island Public Schools

Quick facts:

  • Full construction funding activities include construction and post-occupancy review.
  • Design funding activities include the preparation of construction tender documents such as drawings and specifications.
  • Planning funding activities include site analysis and scope development activities.
  • Pre-planning funding allows a conceptual project to define scope elements, programming priorities and includes activities such as community engagement.
  • To support the decision-making process for delivering infrastructure projects, the Ministry of Infrastructure passed the Infrastructure Accountability Act in December 2021. This act outlines how the province prioritizes projects for the annual capital plan.
  • As legislated by the act, the government also published Building Forward: Alberta’s 20-Year Strategic Capital Plan in December 2021, providing a blueprint for long-term infrastructure investment and development in Alberta.
  • The government’s budget decisions are made in accordance with the act and are guided by the strategic capital plan to ensure future capital investments benefit Albertans.
  • Government partners, such as municipalities and school boards, will also be able to plan for capital funding knowing the long-term direction of government.

Budget 2023 school projects – full construction funding (13):

Community School division Project type/Name
Airdrie Conseil scolaire FrancoSud new secondary school
Calgary Calgary Board of Education modernization of John G. Diefenbaker High School
Calgary Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School Division new K-9 school in Nolan Hill
Edmonton Conseil scolaire Centre-Nord solution for École Michaëlle-Jean and École Gabrielle-Roy
Edmonton Edmonton Public School Board new K-9 school in Edgemont
Lethbridge Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Separate School Division new K-6 school in west Lethbridge
Lethbridge Conseil scolaire FrancoSud École La Vérendrye gym project
Okotoks Christ the Redeemer Catholic Separate School Division replacement of École Good Shepherd School
Penhold Chinook’s Edge School Division replacement of Penhold Elementary School
Raymond Westwind School Division new high school
Sherwood Park Elk Island School Division solution for Sherwood Park
Valleyview Northern Gateway School Division solution for Valleyview
Waskatenau Lakeland Roman Catholic Separate School Division replacement of Holy Family
Catholic School

Budget 2023 school projects – design funding (20):

Community School division Project type/Name
Airdrie Rocky View School Division new K-8 school in southwest Airdrie
Barrhead Pembina Hills School Division modernization and rightsizing of Barrhead Composite High School
Blackfalds Red Deer Catholic Separate School Division new K-5 school
Bow Island / Burdett Prairie Rose School Division solution for Bow Island and Burdett
Breton Wild Rose School Division modernization and rightsizing of Breton High School and demolition of Breton Elementary School
Brooks Grasslands School Division replacement of Brooks Junior High School
Chestermere Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School Division new K-9 school
Calgary Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School Division new high school in Rangeview
Edmonton Edmonton Catholic Separate School Division solution for Rundle Heights
Edmonton Edmonton Public School Board new junior/senior high school in Glenridding Heights
Fort McMurray Conseil scolaire Centre-Nord replacement of K-12 École Boréale
Lac La Biche Northern Lights School Division replacement of Vera M. Welsh School
Leduc Black Gold School Division modernization of École Corinthia Park School
Mallaig St. Paul School Division replacement of École Mallaig School
Medicine Hat Medicine Hat Roman Catholic Separate School Division replacement of St. Francis Xavier School
Nanton Livingstone Range School Division solution for Nanton
Red Earth Creek Peace River School Division replacement of Red Earth Creek School
Spruce Grove Parkland School Division replacement of Spruce Grove Composite High School
Taber Horizon School Division modernization of the W.R. Myers and D.A. Ferguson schools
Wainwright Buffalo Trail School Division replacement of Wainwright School

Budget 2023 – School Planning Program projects (14):

Community School division Project type/Name
Airdrie Rocky View School Division new grades 9-12 school
Calgary Calgary Board of Education modernization of Annie Gale School
Calgary Calgary Board of Education new high school in Cornerstone
Coalhurst Palliser School Division modernization of Coalhurst High School
Donnelly High Prairie School Division G. P. Vanier School
Edmonton Edmonton Catholic Separate School Division new K-9 school in Heritage Valley Cavanagh
Edmonton Edmonton Public School Board new K-6 school in Rosenthal
Edmonton Edmonton Public School Board new elementary school in Glenridding Heights
Fort McMurray Fort McMurray School Division modernization of Westwood Community High School
Grande Prairie Peace Wapiti School Division new high school north of Grande Prairie
Lethbridge Lethbridge School Division modernization of Galbraith Elementary School
Okotoks Foothills School Division new high school
Stettler Clearview School Division modernization and addition at Stettler Middle School
Strathmore Golden Hills School Division replacement of Westmount School

Budget 2023 – Pre-Planning Program projects (11):

Community School division Project type/Name
Calgary Calgary Board of Education modernization of A.E. Cross School
Calgary Calgary Board of Education modernization of Sir John A. Macdonald School
Calgary Calgary Board of Education new Saddle Ridge middle school
Calgary Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School Division new elementary school in Redstone
Calgary Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School Division addition at Bishop McNally High School
Calgary Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School Division new west Calgary high school
Chestermere Rocky View School Division new K-9 school
Cochrane Rocky View School Division new K-5/K-8
Edmonton Edmonton Catholic Separate School Division new north K-9 school
Edmonton Edmonton Public School Division new junior high school in Pilot Sound/McConachie
Red Deer Red Deer Public Schools new northeast middle school

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Canada under pressure to produce more food, protect agricultural land: report

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Canada’s agricultural land is under increasing pressure to produce more food as demand grows domestically and internationally, while the industry grapples with limited resources and environmental constraints, a new report found. 

“We need to grow more food on less land and in a volatile climate,” said Tyler McCann, managing director of the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute.

The report by the institute released Thursday looks at the pressures on Canada’s agricultural land to produce more food while also mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, said McCann. 

Despite Canada being a big country, it doesn’t have as much agricultural land as people might think, said McCann, with the report noting that agricultural land makes up only around seven per cent of the country. 

Because of that, we can’t take what we do have for granted, he said. “We need to be really thoughtful about how we are using our agricultural land.” 

In 2020, Canada was the eighth largest country in terms of cropland area, the report said, with that cropland decreasing by seven per cent over the previous two decades. 

Canada is a major producer and net exporter of agriculture and agri-food products, the report said, exporting $91 billion in products in 2022, and one of the top 10 exporters of wheat, canola, pulses, pork and beef. 

In the coming years, Canada will face increased demand from countries whose populations are growing, the report said. 

“With population growth on one side and climate change on the other, Canada will be amongst an increasingly smaller number of countries that is a net exporter,” said McCann, noting that Canada’s own population is growing, and farmland also needs to be protected against urban sprawl. 

The wildfires clouding Canadian skies this week are a “vivid reminder” of the pressure that extreme weather and the changing climate are putting on the agricultural sector, said McCann. 

“We need to clearly mitigate … agriculture’s impact on climate change. But we also need to make sure agriculture is adapting to climate change’s impacts,” he said. 

One of the ways the world has responded to demand for increased agricultural production over time is to create more agricultural land, in some cases by cutting down forests, said McCann. But that’s not a viable option for Canada, which doesn’t have a lot of land that can be sustainably converted into farmland — and even if it could, doing so could have a variety of adverse environmental effects, he said. 

Some of the practices used to reduce emissions and sequester carbon in agriculture can also improve production output on existing farmland, the report found, such as precision agriculture and no-till practices.

However, intensifying the production of current agricultural land also comes with potential environmental downsides, the report said.

For example, McCann said fertilizer is an important part of sustainable agriculture, but there’s a balance to be struck because excessive use of fertilizer can quickly turn food production unsustainable. 

“We need to be a lot more thoughtful about the inputs that we’re using,” he said, adding the same can be said about the use of technology in agriculture and the policies and programs put in place to encourage sustainable intensification of Canadian agriculture. 

The report recommends that Canada adopt policies that provide financial incentives and technical assistance to farmers and develop regulatory frameworks promoting sustainable land use, as well as promoting education and awareness campaigns, so that the country can “ensure the long-term sustainability of its agricultural sector while protecting the environment.”  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2023.

Rosa Saba, The Canadian Press

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Lawyer tells Alberta’s highest court review board biased in de Grood’s case

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