Surrey school portable. (file photo)

Surrey school portable. (file photo)

Surrey councillor calling for zero-tolerance policy on more school portables

‘Surrey families are paying taxes and their kids shouldn’t be in portables,’ Linda Annis says

Surrey city Councillor Linda Annis is calling for a zero-tolerance policy on building more school portables in Surrey, which she says has become the portable capital of B.C.

She was responding to a corporate report before council at its last meeting entitled Surrey School District Eligible School Sites Proposal 2021-2022 Capital Plan by Jean Lamontagne, Surrey’s general manager of planning and development, that indicates 54,270 residential units are estimated to be developed in Surrey and White Rock over the next decade – that’s 68,198 units including secondary suites – resulting in an increase of 14,283 school-aged children in the district over that time.

This, the report says, will require five new elementary schools and two new secondary schools to be built, as well as the expansion of an elementary school. Based on current serviced land prices, this will cost an estimated $187,455,000.

Just three months ago the Now-Leader published a story that the school district was hoping to see 13 new schools built within the next decade as part of its $1.3 billion capital place request to the province.

Council was asked to endorse “in principle” the plan as outlined in Lamontagne’s report. Annis did not, but the rest of council did.

“I don’t think that estimate’s realistic,” Annis said of the projection for new students. “It further is seven we’re only going to have seven new schools to be constructed over the next ten years, and one expansion.

“What I see from this is just more and more portables. Unfortunately and regrettably we’re already kind of the portable capital of British Columbia when it comes to schools and I think we have to come down to a zero tolerance on our portables, we have far, far too many. Surrey families are paying taxes and their kids shouldn’t be in portables.”

homelessphoto

Linda Annis (Photo: Malin Jordan)

READ ALSO: ‘Building schools is the answer’ to Surrey’s overcrowding problem

Mayor Doug McCallum replied that the provincial government has been “as cooperative as I’ve ever seen in my political career” and has built “many” schools.

“All you need to do is to drive around Surrey and look at all the school construction and extensions that are happening just in the last year,” he said. “The ministry has continued on this year.”

He noted there will be a meeting between the school district, city and provincial government in three weeks.

“I think we’re doing exceptional at this stage,” he said. “And I don’t want the public to think that we have got our foot off the gas. Yes, we do need to build schools and I can tell you in already talking to the ministry they’re going to be cooperative with us and they’re going to continue, as they did last year, building schools and adding extensions on to it.”

Councillor Allison Patton said she’s “very proud” of the work that’s been done. Councillor Laurie Guerra echoed that.

“The school board is elected separately from city council and I at this point, I thought that the meetings that we’ve had in the last two years have been very, very productive,” Guerra said. “I’ve seen a lot of growth, I’ve seen a lot of schools being built. I’ve been to many openings of the new schools.”

“We do have a lot of growth, though, and I think that we really need to stress that when we meet up with the new minister.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

City of SurreySchools

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

Just Posted

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Laura Barnes is to feature some of her artwork at Gallery at Central Plaza next month. (Contributed photo)
New artist showcase coming to White Rock gallery

Laura Barnes work, mixing brights and darks, to be displayed in February

White Rock Public Library (File photo)
Surrey, White Rock literacy leaders kick off Family Literacy Week

Literacy events to take place Jan. 24 to 31

Surrey Community Cat Foundation received funding to assist with medical procedures. (File photo)
SurreyCats receives grant to assist with spay/neuter costs

PetSmart Charities of Canada donates $5,000

Beds are set up at the emergency response centre at the North Surrey Recreation Centre. (Contributed file photo)
26 people test positive for COVID-19 at Surrey emergency shelter

Centre located at North Surrey Recreation Centre

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A registered nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Yukon’s Minister of Community Services, John Streiker, says he’s outraged that a couple from outside the territory travelled to a remote community this week and received doses of COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-POOL
Couple charged after travelling to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine

The maximum fine under the emergency measures act is $500, and up to six months in jail

Metis Nation of B.C. President Clara Morin Dal Col poses in this undated handout photo. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. The Metis Nation of B.C. says Dal Col has been suspended from her role as president. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Metis Nation of B.C. *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Metis Nation of B.C. suspends president, citing ‘breach’ of policies, procedures

Vice-president Lissa Smith is stepping in to fill the position on an acting basis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Payette shouldn’t get same benefits as other ex-governors general: O’Toole

Former governors general are entitled to a pension and also get a regular income paid to them for the rest of their lives

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Cascade Christian School in Chilliwack will be closed until Feb. 5, 2021 due to a cluster of cases in the school. The school made the decision to close “out of an abundance of caution,” says Fraser Health. (Cascade Christian School image)
COVID-19 cluster leads to closure at Chilliwack Christian school

Cascade Christian School makes decision to close after seven people test positive for COVID-19

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Most Read