Maple Ridge News

Petition started to save Silver Valley school site

Silvervalley residents are petitioning council to save a school site in their neighbourhood from being rezoned for homes. - District of Maple Ridge
Silvervalley residents are petitioning council to save a school site in their neighbourhood from being rezoned for homes.
— image credit: District of Maple Ridge

Silver Valley residents aren't taking lightly Maple Ridge's decision to start rezoning a Silver Valley school site and instead allow 30 new homes on the 136th Avenue site.

More than 200 people have signed an online petition, there's now a Facebook page (Action Silver Valley), and Nicole Read is pounding the pavement.

The Silver Valley resident isn't happy with the decision to allow development of what was supposed to be a Blaney Hamlet school site, without the public having a say.

"We want time. We just want time," Read said Wednesday.

"Just give us time to talk about it as a community."

Maple Ridge council decided to allow rezoning last week after the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District said it won't buy the property for an elementary school site.

The school district cited dropping enrolment throughout the area and said with kids attending Yennadon, only two instead of three elementary schools will be needed.

Neither is there any guarantee provincial money will be available for a project.

Read said the school district and municipality may have been talking about the issue for months without public input.

She has two children, one two and the other six years old, who she has to drive to Yennadon elementary.

"It's really upsetting."

Read said that the school site is important not only for kids, but for the neighbourhood. There's only one new neighbourhood park nearby.

Council narrowly approved rezoning the site at 23103 – 136th Ave., which would allow housing to be built, and two possible dedicated school sites.

The locations for schools are outlined in the eco-friendly Silver Valley area plan, a decade-old document.

So far, more than 200 people have signed the petition.

Read said the District of Maple Ridge will receive copies of each person's comments and hopes the district will at least defer the process to allow community discussion.

According to the school district, of 1,245 elementary students who live in Silver Valley, only 747 will need to be locally placed, while the remaining 498 will go to Yennadon elementary.

Over the next year, the school district will develop a school site plan and consult with residents, along with Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. With the plan in place, property acquisitions for future school sites can begin.

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