Seismic upgrades on hold

Ministry of Education orders school districts to use own money

Parkland Secondary won’t be receiving planned seismic upgrades anytime soon after the province has asked school districts across the province to use reserve funds to cover earthquake-related upgrade projects.

School District 63 was well on its way to executing the planned $2 million seismic upgrades for the secondary school as well as a $700,000 upgrade at Cordova Bay Elementary when the change in funding policy pertaining to school seismic upgrades in B.C. came down from the Ministry of Education.

“We’d done all our engineering and design, we were about to go to tender for both projects and we were planning on starting the upgrades next month,” said District 63’s Board Chair, Wayne Hunter.

“We had pre-approval and I had already signed the contract with the Ministry and sent it to them for their approval when they came back to us saying the policy had changed and that we’d have to pay for the upgrades from our capital to supplement.”

Hunter added the school district always aims to add needed upgrades to the schools at the same time as the construction is done for seismic upgrades because it keeps costs lower than treating them as two separate projects. With the change in policy, the school district would have to use reserve funds to pay for half of the total cost of the work.

“They told us we wouldn’t be able to do both projects, to forget one project and throw all the money at the other but that’s impossible.

“We haven’t talked to anyone, not the parents, the staff or the students. We can’t just choose one project over the other without consultation. We need time to adjust and make new plans and then present those plans to the community instead of just making a decision,” said Hunter, who added that the district is disappointed with the way the situation was handled by the Ministry.

“If they had said this six months or a year ago, we would have been able to re-asses the plans. But to spring it on us in a phone call, that’s why the boards are so upset. Right now we’re floundering because we don’t know where the next cost elimination is going to be.”

Hunter said seismic upgrades are at the top of priority list for the board, who voted April 16 to develop a new five year capital plan for the district and engage in consultation with the Ministry of Education, with the B.C. School Trustees’ Association (BCSTA) and with other education partners.

“At this point, the school boards need more certainty. They are very much opposed to the Ministry’s thinking at the moment but we need to work together,” said Hunter.

The Board of Education also requested that the BCSTA and other Boards of Education demand that a task force representing co-governance members be appointed to construct a provincial policy outlying seismic project funding for the next eight to 10 years.

reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest man covered in blood on heels of significant Saanich crash into woods

Resident calls in home invasion in progress after crash

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read