Thursday, October 12, 2017

BC Government announces seismic upgrades for schools in Vancouver; Prince Rupert's hopes for replacement school still left unanswered

The BC Government has announced seismic upgrades and replacements for
schools in the Lower mainland; however there is now word yet on the much
discussed replacement for Prince Rupert Middle School

Premier Horgan was bringing some welcome news to educators, students and parents in the Greater Vancouver area on Wednesday, with the Province of British Columbia announcing plans to replace or upgrade a number of schools in the Lower Mainland within four years, part of the province's initiative to address seismic issues in BC School Districts.

The Premier and his Education Minister Rob Fleming, while noting that there is much work to be done in other communities, both highlighted how the plan for the Vancouver area will mean that students will be learning in a seismically safe environment.

 “Every child deserves to go to a safe, secure and healthy school,” said Premier Horgan. “Parents have been waiting too long for action to make our schools more earthquake safe. That’s why we are accelerating seismic upgrades throughout the province.”-- Premier John Horgan on plans for seismic upgrades in the Lower Mainland.

“Parents across Maple Ridge will soon enjoy the peace of mind of knowing their children are going to school in seismically safe buildings,”  ...  “This is just the beginning,” added Fleming. “We are working with school boards to accelerate seismic upgrades and other investments in education as part of our commitment to making life more affordable, delivering the services families need, and strengthening our economy.” -- Education Minister Rob Fleming on investments in education in BC

The full announcements from Wednesday can be reviewed below:

Begbie and Bayview announcement
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows announcement

While the Premier was rolling out the highly anticipated plans for the Lower Mainland, other areas would appear to still be in somewhat of a holding pattern when it comes to upgrades and replacements.

Included among those still awaiting further news, is School District 52, where there was still no indication if the District's desire for a replacement school for Prince Rupert Middle School has made any progress.

That topic made for much discussion in the lead up to last May's election when MLA Jennifer Rice was an opposition member of the Legislature.

It also became a flash point as the election campaign heated up, becoming a high profile election theme during the Spring election, with North Coast MLA Jennifer putting significant focus on the issue in her contest with Liberal Herb Pond and Green Party candidate Hondo Arendt.

Since returning to office in Victoria however, the discussion point seems to have slipped a bit on the returning MLA's political radar, with no mention of the project made in the Legislature since the NDP took power and Ms. Rice shifted to the governing side of the House.

With the Province seemingly moving ahead with some projects, residents of the North Coast might want to know where Prince Rupert sits on the priority list for the Horgan government and if the MLA is continuing to push for not only a seismic safe environment for local students but for the replacement project for the Prince Rupert school to move forward.

More items related to education in the Northwest can be found here.

Our review of the work of Ms. Rice in Victoria can be examined on our archive page, while a wider overview of the provincial political scene is available on our political portal D'Arcy McGee.

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