B.C. is tapping into a $1.7 billion capital fund to pay the lion’s share of the cost of a new roof at Bayside Middle School in Brentwood Bay.
School District 63 (Saanich) is contributing $1 million after the sale of the former McTavish Road School earlier this year. That, and the added pressure of parents of students at Bayside pretty much tied the hands of the province and forced them to finally do something.
The school’s roof has been leaking since nearly the first day it opened — 20 years ago — and has been limping along ever since. The District applied for grants in 2005 and 2007 to help stem the flow but by all accounts were stymied by the fact the province was on a seismic upgrades kick. If a capital project wasn’t designed to hold a building up in the event of a quake, it probably wasn’t going to get any money.
Unless there was an urgent need.
Unfortunately, that need had to be demonstrated last November when a student at Bayside slipped in water from a leak and suffered a concussion. The incident highlighted the worries parents and school staff had, while they did what they could to clean up the water.
The response in the wake of that incident and public pressure from parents, lends credence to the perception that it takes actual injury before governments at all levels step up and take restorative action.
In the case of Bayside’s roof, the danger should have been clear to the province.
While the school itself might be able to stand in a quake, the fact its roof was leaky and the mounting damage,made for a more serious and pressing issue. It’s good the province has finally acted, but it should have come sooner.
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In the May 13 Our View, we stated that borrowing for the proposed community safety building could take the Town of Sidney to its limit of allowable long-term debt. That is incorrect.
In fact, it would take Sidney to the limit of its assent-free borrowing limit. Town staff state the overall borrowing limit is five times the assent-free limit and Sidney is nowhere near that threshold.
We apologize for the error.