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Strathcona parents launch website

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s an elementary school that is at the highest risk in BC for severe damage during an earthquake.

Now, parents who’ve got kids attending Vancouver’s Strathcona elementary have launched a new website designed to apply more pressure on the provincial government to start seismic upgrades.

The school was put on the top of the province’s seismic upgrade priority list back in 2005.

Caitlin Pencarrick Hertzman, the chair of the school’s Parent Advisory Council, concedes the sheer cost of upgrading is related to the school’s age.

“You can distill the issue down to the fact that the upgrades will be expensive. The reason why the upgrades will be expensive is that the buildings have been identified as heritage. Three of the five of the buildings are heritage,” she explains.

But the PAC isn’t dead set on having classes conducted in the heritage buildings.

“If we can save those buildings and renovate them in a manner that would give the kids a great learning environment then we should do that. But if building a new school is faster, and the heritage buildings can be saved, obviously that is a great option too.  And I don’t think you’d have to demolish the buildings to build a new school, with the way the property is laid out,” she says.

Upgrades to the school could cost up to $30 million.

She has heard that an announcement about seismic upgrades is imminent, but she says they’ve been down that road before.

Vancouver School Board Chair Patti Bacchus says a project agreement was supposed to have been signed last month but it has been delayed once again. She says two weeks ago, the provincial treasury board indicated another engineering report needs to be performed to confirm the costs and approach to the project.