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BC party leaders promising long-awaited school, acute care tower, community livability

Last Updated Oct 10, 2020 at 3:28 pm PDT

FILE - (From left) BC NDP Leader John Horgan, BC Liberal Leader Leader Andrew Wilkinson, and BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau (CityNews)

Olympic Village is going to get a long-awaited school if the NDP is re-elected later this month

The BC Liberals made an announcement on health care this afternoon in Richmond

Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau has discussed the party's platform points on housing, transit and livability

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The BC NDP are promising to build a new school in Vancouver’s Olympic Village neighbourhood if re-elected two weeks from now.

For years parents have complained about the lack of schools in the area, starting petitions and websites in an effort to have their concerns addressed.

Candidates George Heyman and Brenda Bailey made the announcement Saturday morning but were questioned as to why the party hadn’t built one already.

“We were devoting funding and huge amounts of capital funding for new schools, not just in Vancouver, but all over the province,” Heyman said.

“What we were doing was trying to work with the Vancouver school board to find both the land and the funding to do the school.”

The NDP previously blamed the Vancouver School Board for a delay in opening a new school, while the school board said the education ministry did not offer up funds.

Both the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver School Board are already at work to build the school, with space for it already set aside.

Lisa McAllister who lives in the area says talk about a school has dragged on for a decade and the lack of a school has even forced some frustrated parents to move away.

“Year after year we’ve just seen more and more of our friends leave, and a huge, huge contributor to that is not having a school,” she said.

Greens’ platform points

Meanwhile, in Victoria, Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau released her plan for “livable cities” which includes policies for investing in transit, walkable neighbourhoods and active transportation.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the benefits of more livable communities,” Furstenau said.

“The pandemic has closed our social networks and cancelled our travel plans. People are using outdoor spaces as one of the only areas where we can socialize while adhering to social distancing guidelines. As businesses have slowly reopened, we’ve seen them expand out onto our streets in order to take advantage of the relative safety of serving outdoors.”

As the province recovers from the virus, “we need to think about how we can build stronger communities,” she added.

“I’ve spoken a lot already in this campaign about the need for a recovery that fights climate change and spurs innovation. Investing in transit, livable cities, and active transportation will not only help us meet our climate targets — it will improve our physical and mental wellbeing, the strength and connectedness of our communities, and our overall quality of life.”

Liberal promise acute care tower 

And in Richmond, B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson made a commitment to build an acute care tower at Richmond Hospital.

“We come into this issue at the Richmond hospital with eyes wide open this is a hospital tire that needs to be built. It’s a growing community,” he said. “As a medical doctor myself, I’m completely familiar with hospital acute care and what it does in the community and how deeply it’s needed.”

With just two weeks left before the election Oct. 24, the three party leaders are set to take the debate stage on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.