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BC NDP pledge new elementary school for Vancouver’s Olympic Village

A view of Vancouver's Olympic Village neighbourhood in Southeast False Creek.
A view of Vancouver's Olympic Village neighbourhood in Southeast False Creek. Google Street View

The BC NDP are promising a new elementary school for Vancouver’s Olympic Village neighbourhood if they’re reelected.

Vancouver-False Creek candidate Brenda Bailey and Vancouver-Fairview candidate George Heyman made the announcement Saturday.

Read more: Vancouver council votes to fast-track new elementary school for Olympic Village

“No parent wants their kid to go into a crammed classroom, and no kid wants to spend hours in the car or on the bus commuting to school.”

“When children have a modern place to learn close to home, families can be assured their kids will get the best possible start in life. It’s an exciting announcement and one this community has waited too long for.”

Click to play video 'NDP government accused of failing with school funding' NDP government accused of failing with school funding
NDP government accused of failing with school funding

Funding for the school will come from the NDP’s pandemic recovery plan, Bailey said.

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Families on the south side of False Creek have been calling for a new school for years, under both a BC NDP and BC Liberal government.

Land has been set aside for the institution next to Hinge Park, but to date, no funding has been allocated.

Read more: B.C. election 2020 promise tracker: What the major parties are pledging

Vancouver’s official 2007 development plan for southeast False Creek anticipated an elementary school to be built in the area, with hopes it would be ready for students by 2020. Council voted last year to reprioritize the school.

The Vancouver School Board has been asking for the new facility since 2006, and last year made pushing for funding a top priority in its 2020/2021 capital plan.

Click to play video 'Parents concerned about plans to replace Vancouver high school' Parents concerned about plans to replace Vancouver high school
Parents concerned about plans to replace Vancouver high school

In response to questions from Global News at the time, the Ministry of Education said its priority was seismic upgrades on 62 of Vancouver’s existing schools, to which the province has committed $2.7 billion.

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“Currently, the Vancouver School Board has a large number of surplus seats with many schools operating below their intended capacities,” the ministry said last year.

Read more: B.C. election 2020: Find your riding and candidates

On the campaign trail Saturday, BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson acknowledged a growing need for school spaces in Vancouver’s downtown area, and said he’d have more to say on the issue in the days to come.

BC Green Leader Sonia Furstenau is campaigning in Victoria on Saturday.

–With files from Sean Boynton