It will not be long before local politicians remind the NDP about election promise – a new secondary school in Pitt Meadows.
Incumbent MLA Lisa Beare announced the high school would be replaced during her campaign for re-election in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows. Beare also said the NDP would provide funding for the purchase of a new property for an elementary school in the Silver Valley neighbourhood of Maple Ridge.
So the NDP’s majority government win and Beare’s re-election in Saturday night’s provincial vote would appear to be good news for the school board.
District 42 school board chair Korleen Carreras said the district administrators had been planning upgrades at the high school, and submitting it to the Education Ministry as the top priority needing funding.
“It’s something we’ve been working on, and to jump from a renovation and seismic upgrade to a new school is exciting for us,” said Carreras.
Beare and Carreras served on the school board together, and Carreras is an NDP member who has worked on campaigns in her personal life.
Carreras said the board will wait for the full election results to be known – mail-in ballots are still being counted, and for the new government to appoint the next education minister, and will then contact the minister about the new school project, and the Silver Valley property.
Seismic upgrades at the secondary school were to cost an estimated $31 million. It was considered at highest risk of widespread damage or structural failure in an earthquake. The school was also officially assessed to be in very poor condition, compared to others in the province, with the worst rating among the district’s high schools. The 2021/2022 capital plan had proposed $3.2 million in to provide gender neutral washrooms, boiler upgrades and other work.
The new school will cost $80 to $90 million, and will be funded under NDP’s $3 billion Recovery Investment Fund.
The board has estimated there will be 6,510 new development units in the district over the next 10 years, and they will be home to 1,420 school-aged children. This will require one new school site, of 4.84 hectares (12 acres) in size, and cost approximately $15 million.