A former Saskatoon city councillor is stepping away from her community association’s board over what she calls racist attitudes.
The accusation comes amid ongoing discussion over a proposal by the Saskatoon Tribal Council for a 32-child preschool that would be located on 11th Street in the Montgomery Place neighbourhood.
“Events and behaviours, and statements leading up to this, and subsequent, convinced me that the opposition to the Saskatoon Tribal Council having a preschool for three and four-year-olds in Montgomery was racist in nature,” Lorje said.
Lorje said a second board member has since resigned.
In statement released Thursday, a spokesperson for the Montgomery Place Community Association (MPCA) said they opposed the project once they got notice of the plan from the city — and before anyone on the board knew who was behind the proposed preschool.
“This notice was brought forward to the board without any reference made to who the applicant was.” The statement went on to say the MPCA opposed “this discretionary use as a matter of precedence being set for re-purposing existing homes into institutional or commercial properties.”
The statement also calls accusations of racism unfounded.
Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand previously said the proposed location along the residential stretch of 11th Street was chosen because Montgomery is a good neighbourhood, and the property has a large backyard for the children to play in.
He described the opposition to the project as disheartening.
“I don’t know why we’d be opposed to a positive situation where we can make a difference in people’s lives,” he said. “All we’re trying to do is be part of a community where everyone gets to be safe, have a quality of life and be together.”
The community association said another public meeting could be held to discuss the issue, however, they have yet to set a specific date.