VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Construction should have started already. That’s what a Vancouver city councillor is saying about the need for an elementary school in the Olympic Village.
Vancouver City Councillor Lisa Dominato says the school is supposed to be built by 2020, but Education Minister Rob Fleming has been non-committal about funding.
“I was disappointed in the response from the minister particularly in light of the importance of affordability and climate change to the provincial government because we’ve been planning for this school for many years. We’re talking about having complete neighborhoods, people being able to walk to their school, walk to public amenities or access transit,” she says.
The former school trustee says frustrated parents are tired of driving their kids far away from the False Creek area to take their kids to school.
“You know 1,300, 1,400 young families, they’re living there. This is where they can afford to live. How do we ensure we have a fast-track system for building and development permits? We don’t build schools that often in the city.”
Dominato says she plans to raise the issue in the next couple of weeks at City Hall because getting some of those families out of their cars helps reduce Vancouver’s carbon footprint.
“Frankly, I think so. What I’m pushing for is to see that expedited. Our official development plan contemplated having these public amenities in place by 2020. Maybe the school board doesn’t actually have to get funding to acquire that site. Maybe we can look at leasing it to them for a dollar.”
She adds money shouldn’t be a problem because funding for a new school in another part of the city is already in place.
“Last year, the school board entered into an agreement with BC Hydro for a sub-station in the West End and the proceeds for that are actually paying for the Coal Harbour school that’s going to be going in, so the province doesn’t have to pay for that school. It’s time to move forward with this one.”
Space has already been set aside for the new school near Hinge Park.