Paradise High School a Placeholder in the budget - Dinn

(May 3, 2024 St. John’s, NL) – Paul Dinn, MHA for Topsail-Paradise, says he is disappointed after going through the estimates process to find that the budget announcement for a high school in Paradise is nothing more than a place holder.


Dinn says, “There was a lot hoopla leading up to the budget with an announcement by government and lots of photo ops to share that a High School for Paradise would be included in the 2024 budget. Parents and residents in attendance were ecstatic that finally the long deferred high school would become a reality. This delight was soon extinguished when the budget came and went with one sentence: “$50,000 to begin planning for a new high school in Paradise.”


A High School for Paradise was top of the English School District capital works list for many years. The PC Government had announced the high school in their 2015 budget only to see the Liberal government defer the school indefinitely when they were elected in November 2015.


Dinn said: “Going through the estimates process it was disappointing to hear that work on a high school is in “very early, initial stages” and many questions were deferred to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, who were not in attendance. Most of the design and planning work for this year would be completed in house by Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and include layout, size, footprint and square footage required by the school population”


Minister Howell stated this work would “Get us to a position where we know what we’re asking for.”  Dinn further explains “There should already be a good understanding of what is needed and the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure have school design information in shop. This is essentially another twelve month delay and the budget mention is nothing more than a place holder. “


In response to other recent school announcements and the delay in the Paradise High School the Paradise community came together last fall and formed the “Paradise Needs a High School” group. They have been active in lobbying government and providing information on the needs of the school community.


Erin Furlong, chairperson for Paradise Needs a High School echoed similar views saying, “We felt really let down by the budget. There is very little that can be done with $50,000. We knew this process would not be quick but there was an expectation that money would be allocated for engineering work and land purchase at a minimum.”


Dinn and Furlong both see this disappointment as strengthening the community’s resolve as Dinn states: “We have such a well-informed, resilient and motivated group that will not give up on this much needed school”