August 14, 2022

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The NDP authorities is on the defensive over revelations that it’s delaying beforehand promised funding for brand spanking new faculties or seismic upgrades to present faculties.

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Prime Minister John Horgan mentioned on Monday that faculty capital tasks are “not being frozen,” however the Training Division confirmed that seven tasks are on maintain because of the monetary affect of the pandemic and final 12 months’s catastrophic flooding.

Faculty districts in Mission and Vancouver say they’re annoyed that faculty capital funding has been delayed indefinitely. NDP opponents are skeptical of stories that much-needed college improve or alternative tasks are being delayed as the federal government pushes forward with a controversial $789 million plan to interchange the Royal British Columbia Museum.

On Might 27, the Vancouver Faculty Board wrote to Secretary of Training Jennifer Whiteside expressing “concern that no new main capital tasks have been accepted” and “concern” that three beforehand accepted seismic tasks at David Thompson Excessive Faculty, Falls Elementary Faculty Creek and Killarney Excessive Faculty have been placed on maintain. The phrases for which the tasks will likely be postponed will not be referred to as.

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The Vancouver Faculty Board has not acquired funding for main new capital tasks since 2019/20, the council mentioned. The varsity district requested funding for a brand new college on Columbia Road within the Olympic Village from 2006 to 2007, however no cash was allotted.

In a June 1 letter to the Prime Minister, Mission Faculty Board Chair Tracey Loeffler expressed “disappointment” that the $87 million venture to interchange the Mission Senior Excessive Faculty has been “postponed indefinitely.”

The varsity board should resubmit the enterprise case for changing the varsity, Loeffler mentioned, pushing again the venture by a minimum of two years.

“We got a promise,” Loeffler mentioned. “We’d similar to to launch this venture.”

The fast-growing Souk Faculty District has not acquired the funding it requested to construct three new elementary faculties in Langford and Colwood or undertake a seismic improve at Port Renfrew Elementary Faculty on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This 12 months, the New Westminster Faculty District was additionally denied main capital funding for a brand new highschool within the Fraser River space.

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Whiteside was not out there for an interview on Monday, however her ministry mentioned in an announcement that “the monetary affect of the pandemic and up to date flooding has resulted within the postponement of seven college capital tasks.” He didn’t present a listing of the seven pending tasks.

The ministry mentioned this was in an effort to prioritize 11 pressing college tasks, “together with the alternative of amenities deemed unsafe for long-term use and building tasks to create new areas for college students in excessive enrollment areas.”

For instance, the Division expedited a request from the Kenel Faculty District to create a enterprise case to interchange Carson Elementary Faculty at a unique web site attributable to a threat of landslide on the present web site.

The Division mentioned there are 79 college capital tasks in British Columbia which have been accepted for funding and are within the design section, underneath building, or the place sufficient work has been accomplished to permit college students to securely occupy the constructing. The 2022 funds contains $3.1 billion over the subsequent three years to construct and increase faculties for development, seismically improve faculties, and keep present faculties.

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Horgan and Tourism Minister Melanie Mark have repeatedly refuted claims by critics that the $789 million Royal British Columbia Museum alternative venture is taking priority over seismic upgrades to BC faculties. There are 250 BC faculties within the province, some with worse seismic rankings than the 55-year-old museum, awaiting seismic upgrades.

“It is a horrible choice by John Horgan and the NDP,” mentioned BC Liberal chief Kevin Falcon. “Spending a billion {dollars} on a model new Royal British Columbian Museum (RBCM) that nobody needed, whereas stopping the development of already introduced faculties promised to folks and lecturers, is unacceptable,”

Falcon advised Postmedia Information that the federal government’s dedication to the museum’s “ill-conceived” plan “implies that different issues should be sacrificed to maneuver this venture ahead.”

BC Inexperienced Get together MLA Adam Olsen mentioned he was upset to see college capital tasks “don’t appear to be transferring ahead on the tempo that faculty districts want to regulate to rising communities.”

Olsen mentioned that if the federal government continues to insist that it could exchange the museum and make faculties protected for youngsters, “then they should display as a authorities that they’re doing this, they’ll do each.”

kderosa@postmedia.com

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