October 11, 2017 3:49 pm
Updated: October 11, 2017 4:27 pm

Two Vancouver schools to be replaced under seismic upgrade program

WATCH: Two schools in Vancouver are being replaced to meet modern seismic standards but as Jordan Armstrong reports there are still hundreds of others that are at risk in the event of an earthquake.

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Amid concerns over seismic safety, the provincial government has announced that it will replace two Vancouver elementary schools.

Premier John Horgan says the province has known for years that Sir Matthew Begbie Elementary and Bayview Elementary are at risk of collapsing in the event of an earthquake.

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“The example we’re setting today, two and a half months into our government, is that we’re taking two schools in Vancouver — one in the east side and one in the west side — that have been on a list for a long, long time, and we’re moving them forward. We’re committed to moving as many schools as possible.”

READ MORE: BC NDP looking to fast-track seismic upgrades in wake of Mexico City earthquake

Both elementary schools are listed as “high-risk” by the province’s seismic mitigation program. Sir Matthew Begbie was selected to advance to planning for seismic mitigation back in 2005, while Bayview got the nod in 2013.

The students from Begbie will be able to stay at the school while construction takes place, because the new facility will be built elsewhere on the school grounds.

Students from the 105-year-old Bayview will be moved into temporary accommodation during construction, as the new school will be on the same footprint as the existing one.

Pressed on a timeline to complete seismic upgrades on the more than 175 remaining schools across the province, Horgan would not name a date.

“We have an aggressive capital plan over the next three years, $14 billion in investments in schools, hospitals, roads, transit. And we’re going aggressive on the school front, largely in under serviced areas,” he said.

Horgan added that in its September budget update the NDP government put aside $522 million over the next three years for seismic upgrade work.

READ MORE: Argyle Secondary School getting $45.7M seismic upgrade

Back in 2015, the previous BC Liberal government pushed the deadline to have B.C.’s highest risk schools upgraded back by 10 years, from 2020 to 2030.

Construction for the new new Sir Matthew Begbie Elementary is budgeted at just over $22 million dollars, while the Bayview project is expected to cost $24-million. Both are expected to be complete by 2021.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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