(KF/Wikimedia Commons) Discussion is taking place about post-secondary coming to Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows.

OUTLOOK 2019: A united voice for post-secondary in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows

A letter has been drafted to the Minister of Education for needs assessment

The possibility of post-secondary in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows is once again being talked about by all levels of government.

A letter has been drafted to Melanie Mark, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, to request an assessment of the need for post-secondary somewhere within the borders of School District No. 42.

However, it is too early to tell what that post-secondary will look like if it comes to fruition.

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare emphasized that the letter is just the beginning of a conversation.

“We know that post-secondary education is definitely critical to the future of the next generation here in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows,” said Beare, for the well-being of businesses, both communities and increase the quality of life for local residents.

Bear said that making education equitable is also vital for first nations and reconciliation by providing fair and even access to education all across the Lower Mainland to ensure that all students thrive.

Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden described the letter as a joint agreement and a process to make an application for funding, as well as a needs assessment to review viability for post-secondary within the region.

Morden noted that staff met with a community on Vancouver Island that has undergone the same process and assured them that “this is the way to put the groundwork in place to support a case for post-secondary in our community.

“From Maple Ridge’s perspective, when you’ve got kids who are coming out of graduation and they are unable to easily access post-secondary, there’s a gap there,” said Morden.

“There’s an element of risk, too, which is one we would like to mitigate and you do that by providing a transition step, maybe its a full year of entry into a university of some sort of post-secondary,” he continued.

In 2014, former Maple Ridge Coun. Bob Masse, who was on a task force to bring a multi-university campus to the city, was hoping that three acres that were lying empty along Selkirk Avenue could be a site for a post-secondary campus.

The post-secondary task force involved the cities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows and the District of Mission and, at that point, had been trying to find a way to attract a university or college for a few years.

Their goal had been to get a variety of schools to have their satellite operations to share building space, offering multiple course options.

Both Beare and Morden explained this new venture might not necessarily be a “bricks and mortar” opportunity.

“It may not be a campus,” said Beare.

“It may be increased skills in trades training, it may be tacking onto existing opportunities that are already here,” she said, noting that the Justice Institute of British Columbia already has a campus in Maple Ridge.

“It could be a number of opportunities and that’s what the conversation has to begin,” she said, adding that the local need has to be assessed.

Morden said the various levels of government are looking at a post-secondary facility within the borders of the school district and wouldn’t rule out the possibility of it being on first nations property.

“It’s an important piece to the retention of our youth,” he said, because they are going outside of the community where there are jobs and secondary education.

Post-secondary, Morden said, is a major piece of what is needed for a sustainable city.

“If you take a look at the primary three pieces of having a great city, is your economy, your economic side of things, then there’s your sustainable side of things, then there’s your environmental side of things. The two sub-sets to that, that really make it work, other key pieces to it, are post-secondary and transit,” said Morden.

Morden said there have been discussions with a “willing partner.”

Although the cost of a post-secondary facility needs assessment in this region, the one on Vancouver Island cost around $1.6 million, funded by the province.

Morden estimates assessment and funding approval will take a minimum of six months to a year.



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are prepared for high Fraser River levels

Peak numbers are expected to be below trigger levels for both cities

‘Protect our jobs,” say laid-off hotel workers to MLA Lisa Beare

Delegation delivered a petition to Maple Ridge MLA office on Friday

LOOKING BACK: A ride down memory lane or in this case Dewdney Trunk Road

Maple Ridge’s museum director offers a history lessson on how the major thoroughfare came to be

$75K will mean gifts for Maple Ridge man’s kids

Meneo Asperin had a rush of emotion when he thought he’d won $75 on BC/49

New Maple Ridge park to be finished this summer

Park located on the former site of the Anita Place Tent City

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Greater Vancouver home sales start to tick up, with prices holding steady

Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May

Langley Lodge’s deadly outbreak declared over

Fraser Health and long-term care home administrator confirm Friday declaration

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

Most Read