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

Highway 99 traffic flows under 24 Avenue in South Surrey Monday afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
A cyclist crosses above Highway 99 on 24 Avenue Monday afternoon, Oct. 19. (Aaron Hinks photo)
Liberals promise new freeway interchanges for South Surrey

NDP candidate taking pre-election announcement ‘with heavy grain of salt’

A past extreme weather response shelter set up for women inside Surrey’s Nightshift Street Ministries. (Photo: Chris Paul/nightshiftministries.org)
Homeless people in Surrey face ‘shocking and scary’ scenario this winter

Last winter there were nine Extreme Weather Response shelters in all of Surrey and White Rock. So far, during this pandemic, there are only five lined up for the coming winter

File photo
Surrey Mounties seeking dash-cam footage of Whalley road rage fight

Two men are alleged to have stabbed one another

The RCMP helicopter. (File photo)
Suspect escapes after police pursuit through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford

Police chase involved two stolen vehicles, including one taken in Mission

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Police watchdog concludes Mounties didn’t shoot Fleetwood teen at strip mall

IIO finds tragic death of teenager ‘not the result of any actions or inactions’ by the Surrey RCMP

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Most Read