Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 18, 2006
Ring road plan may lead seminary to seek new site
"Our concern is over the impact of noise upon the quality of life in the seminary."
- Fr. Shayne Craig
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Newman Theological College and St. Joseph's Seminary may soon have to move to a new location.
In fact the Catholic institutions are already scouting for a new home as they face the possibility that the northwest extension of Anthony Henday Drive might go through their property.
"The way the road is proposed right now it's just very near the seminary," said seminary rector Father Shayne Craig. "My understanding is that the area they are talking about is going to clip part of the (seminary) property."
The Alberta government is currently negotiating with the Edmonton Archdiocese, which owns the college and its adjacent seminary on St. Albert Trail, to determine if relocating the institutions is feasible. The province has committed to build the road by 2015.
"So one of our issues is that we are right on the path of the ring road," Archbishop Thomas Collins said Sept. 11. "It's a major freeway and, I think, it'll be a great benefit for the whole area. But obviously it is a very serious difficulty we are facing and we've been in discussion with the government of Alberta concerning what to do."
Noise and seminary
St. Joseph's Seminary has between 30 to 40 seminarians in residence for much of the year.
"Our concern is over the impact of noise upon the quality of life in the seminary," Craig said. "So it is not just a place where people are coming for classes; they actually live here, their bedrooms are here. So the proximity of such a large highway so close to the (seminary) residence is a concern."
Craig said residents from the nearby neighbourhoods are equally concerned about the impact of the noise. "When I went to public meetings there were a number of people who wanted that highway moved further away from the neighbourhood. But as they do that then they run into us," he explained.
"The only way they could do that would be to move us. That certainly is an option. The difficulty is that we would have to have enough money to be able to rebuild a structure that is adequate so the money would have to be sufficient."
During question period in the legislature Aug. 31 Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Ty Lund said the province had advanced an undisclosed sum of money to the college to "assist them in assessing any other location that they might feel is suitable for them."
Martin Dupuis, spokesperson for Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation, confirmed negotiations with Newman College have been taking place for some time regarding the possibility of relocating the facility.
Removing the college and seminary is necessary to accommodate the road's alignment, which as it now stands, would run too close to some St. Albert homes.
"We consider that removing the college from the transportation and utility corridor would allow the roadway to be moved further from the residences and alleviate many of the concerns of residents," Dupuis said.
Collins confirmed the archdiocese is considering relocating the institutions, which currently occupy 40 acres at 15611 St. Albert Trail, just south of St. Albert.
"Right now our institutions are right in the middle of the (transportation and utility) corridor so we are discussing with the government the option that we would relocate," the archbishop said.
"There are other locations where we could rebuild the seminary and the college but obviously in our present economy it is very expensive to rebuild. And so we are concerned about that and I don't think it would be right to put a heavy (financial) burden on the people of the archdiocese for this."
Collins wouldn't disclose possible relocation sites but said the archdiocese is examining a couple of locations that would be "good places" for the seminary and the college.