NDP questions school upgrade cancellations

NDP leader John Horgan, Education Minister Mike Bernier clash over seismic upgrades cancelled in Victoria and Metro Vancouver

NDP leader John Horgan speaks to reporters in Victoria Wednesday.

School building upgrades are shaping up as a battleground for next year’s B.C. election, with the B.C. Liberal government rolling out repair projects under its expanded “fix-it” fund, and the NDP questioning if politics caused the cancellation of two seismic upgrade projects.

NDP leader John Horgan released freedom of information documents Wednesday related to the cancellation of seismic upgrades at Shoreline Middle School in Greater Victoria and Minnekhada Middle School in Port Coquitlam.

The schools had been slated for upgrades, but projects were cancelled due to low capacity, with Shoreline projected to be 65 per cent full over the next five years.

Horgan pointed to recent announcements that rural schools in the Okanagan and Cariboo were being spared from closure, but two high-risk schools in bedrock NDP constituencies were not going ahead.

“Why is it that the government had money to sprinkle on their problems in Quesnel, sprinkle on their problems in Osoyoos, to sprinkle on their problems in Penticton, but they don’t have the money to protect children in Port Coquitlam and in Greater Victoria?” Horgan said.

Education Minister Mike Bernier issued a statement rejecting Horgan’s criticism. The Victoria school district has four other schools that are higher priorities for upgrades than Shoreline, and the ministry and the Port Coquitlam district are working on final approval for Minnekhada, he said.

“The opposition leader must have missed the two brand-new schools in his own riding or the fact that that largest seismic project in B.C. is the $106 million replacement of New Westminster Secondary,” Bernier said.

Premier Christy Clark announced seismic upgrades to 45 schools, including Minnekhada and Shoreline, a month before the 2013 election.

On Wednesday, the education ministry announced new non-seismic repairs to schools around the province, mostly plumbing, heating and roof repairs. The announcement has a heavy emphasis on Vancouver, where Bernier has fired the board and put a hold on school closures despite lower occupancy rates than any other B.C. school district.

 

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

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Big Beach parties spark concern in Ucluelet

“You find needles, left over party debris, bottles and still burning fires.”

Ucluelet’s Terrace Beach Resort is for sale

The commercial offering of 21 suites and cabins was recently listed for $4,495,000

‘It’s really frustrating’: B.C. Indigenous groups share impact of border closures

The closures have resulted in disputes between Indigenous groups and local businesses

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Most Read