Overcrowding forces catchment changes in Maple Ridge

Changes proposed by school district 42 could split up siblings

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District is redrawing elementary school catchment boundaries in east Maple Ridge to relieve pressure on overcrowded schools.

However, the boundary changes could result in siblings not being able to attend the same school.

All three schools in east Maple Ridge are currently over capacity, with Albion currently at 123 per cent of capacity, while Alexander Robinson is at 114 per cent, and Kanaka Creek is at 103 per cent.

Under the proposed changes, the catchment areas for Albion, Alexander Robinson, and Kanaka Creek would shrink, while the catchments for Blue Mountain, Webster’s Corners, and Whonnock elementary schools would be expanded.

Webster’s Corner is currently at 64 per cent of capacity, while Blue Mountain is at 71 per cent.

The school district is struggling to manage the growing population in the Albion area.

Director of instruction David Vandergugten noted that the school district ultimately has no say in matters of zoning and no control over where the District of Maple Ridge allows residential development.

The school district has been waiting on the provincial government for more than five years to approve funding for a new elementary school on 102nd Avenue, where the district already owns property.

Complicating matters is the fact that Albion doesn’t have the option of adding more portables, says Vandergugten.

“There’s literally no space left on the property,” he said.

To make matters worse for the school, a high density townhouse development is being built next door, which Vandergugten expects to attract more young families to the area.

Should trustees approve the proposed catchment changes, the Maple Crest subdivision north of 104th Avenue and east of 240th Street would fall into the catchment of Webster’s Corner elementary, located a six-km drive away, instead of Albion elementary, little more than a kilometre.

Kanaka Creek elementary’s catchment will almost be lopped in half, with students north of 112th Avenue now part of Alexander Robinson’s catchment.

Kanaka Creek offers a balanced school calendar, and is meant to be a district-wide option for parents. However, because of development within the school’s catchment area, there is little room for out-of-catchment students.

“We can’t put kids in schools that are full,” Vandergugten said.

Families previously residing in Alexander Robinson’s catchment north of Dewdney Trunk Road, and between 116th and 113th Avenues off 240th Street, will now fall into Blue Mountain elementary’s catchment.

Whonnock elementary’s catchment will also encroach on the Albion neighbourhood, expanding to include the subdivision at the corner of 102nd Avenue and 248th Street, previously located within Albion elementary’s boundary. Families there will have an 8.5 km drive to school every day instead of 2.5 km drive to Albion.

For families with a child in one school who now find themselves in the catchment of another school, their first child will still be allowed to attend the school they are already at. However, siblings yet to enter elementary school will be considered out-of-catchment, and will be prioritized for enrollment behind other students residing within the new boundaries.

That could mean splitting some families up, something trustee Ken Clarkson said he would like to avoid if at all possible.

“In most instances, those people are accommodated,” Clarkson said. “We might grandfather them in … but these things haven’t been decided yet.”

The proposed changes will be brought to trustees at their Jan. 11 meeting.

• For more, vist www.sd42.ca

Just Posted

Maple Ridge senior facing homelessness at the end of the month

Jean Ticehurst can’t find affordable housing

Debate goes on about nutrition and autism in Maple Ridge

Spoke Wednesday at the Chrysta Learning Centre

UPDATE: Car plunges down embankment in Maple Ridge

Two people injured in morning incident

New rail underpass and overpass comes with costs

Pitt Meadows residents will see 0.75 per cent tax increase for rail crossings

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, vehicle crashes

Happened in early evening, injuries unknown

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read