B.C. has announced the next two elementary schools to get seismic upgrades.
Work will begin at Edith Cavell Elementary and General Wolfe Elementary in 2020, and is slated to be completed in the fall of 2021.
The project will cost a combined $35.8 million, and will involve refurbishing the existing heritage buildings rather than building new structures.
“In the last 15 years, only 25 of the 90 schools in Vancouver that are at high risk have been in remediated with a seismic investment. That’s not good enough,” said Education Minister Rob Fleming.
“If a major earthquake were to hit, we know we need to be prepared. . . Today, in Vancouver, since we formed government, we’re going to be able to announce that we have six seismic safety and school replacement projects already.”
Students from Edith Cavell, which is located in Vancouver’s South Cambie neighbourhood, will attend MacCorkinale and Champlain Heights elementary schools during the work.
Students from Mount Pleasant’s General Wolfe will have their classes moved to the South Hill Education Centre.
“It’s been too long, but, now that these two are moving forward, we hope that some more will come forward in the next few months, in the next few years, and we won’t let up until every single student in Vancouver is in a safe school,” said Vancouver School Board Chair Janet Fraser.
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“We still have a number of “H1″ schools, the highest risk category schools, so those are the ones we’re working on with the government.”
There remain 53 high-risk schools in the City of Vancouver, where seismic construction has not begun or been completed.
Fleming wouldn’t give a timeline on when those schools may see construction begin.
“The timeline is really that we’re moving as quickly as we can,” he said, adding that the ministry hoped to beat this year’s total of six new projects in 2019.
Across B.C., there remain 155 schools listed as being at “high” seismic risk that have yet to see construction begin.
Fifteen of those schools are in line for construction. An additional 14 schools have seismic mitigation work currently underway, most of them in Metro Vancouver.
A further 178 high-risk schools have seen the work completed since B.C. began upgrades.
Back in 2015, the former B.C. Liberal government announced that a target to upgrade Vancouver’s highest risk schools by 2020 would not be met, and pushed that deadline to 2030.
The current government says says it has approved $387 million for seismic upgrades since 2017, and has earmarked another $541 million over three years in for seismic work in budget 2018.
-With files from Nadia Stewart