MONTREAL - Usually sleepy Verdun city council looks like it could be hit with some passionate discussion at its next meeting.

Residents will be handing in a petition with 2,000 signatures supporting a zoning change to allow a school expansion on Nuns' Island's Lafontaine Park.

They will be met by many residents who remain doggedly opposed to the plan to add the facility for the Marguerite Bourgeois School Board.

"We think that that it's the best to construct a new school in a site that's not a park," said Mario Langlois, who has been active in the fight against the development.

Proponents of the plan point out that currently many kids are forced to leave the island to attend school.

They say the new educational facility will be built largely on a parking lot and two trees will replace every tree cut down.

Many parents support the construction, including Marie-Paule Sardi who grew up in the upscale Verdun suburb and attended school there and now wants the same for her daughter.

"For me it's important that they build a school here because it's going to be a way for her to stay on the island for school," Marie-Paule Sardi.

"It means that we can spend more quality time with them because we don't spend that much time traveling back and forth from you know work, school, home," she said.

"Having a school close to home is a convenience. Having a park in a neighbourhood is a sustainable value," said Alexandre Miller, who opposes the project.

"If they wanted to keep green space they should stop all these buildings at the end of the island, where they actually erased the entire forest," said Claude-Andre Duquette, who supports the school.

Verdun Mayor Claude Trudel favours the school and said it will occupy only 10 percent of the park and will not be expanded.