District 43 recently announced that it was going to begin selling off school lands to raise funds to build new schools.
The first parcel of land is a grass field for baseball, soccer, etc. Giving up open, green public space in our densifying area is a poorly conceived idea.
These spaces are going to be needed more and more as our population grows.
It is obvious that leaving these lands in the hands of school boards is no longer a sensible plan.
I would suggest that they be turned over to the city to own and maintain since the school boards don't have the funding or the taxing abilities to obtain all the money they want for their proposed projects, as they are poised to take drastic actions.
I also suggest that this issue be put to the voters. It is just one of many amalgamations that could have cost savings benefits in our municipalities and provide better service of green spaces if our governments could just see it and do it.
In the case of Porter Street Elementary, a seismic upgrade that was to be done in a year at a cost of $6 million took over four years and contractors reported it cost over double the cost.
This should raise many alarms as the school board now wants more funds to start more projects. Are they the right people to oversee big projects? I think not.
Everyone that has endured through the seismic "up-grade" knows that the old Porter School should have been knocked down and replaced with a new, bigger school and nearby Harbour View Elementary could have been closed.
The costs would have been less and the community better off. Directing just seismic funding without good school planning is foolishness.
There was supposed to be daycare provided on the [Porter] site, but that concept just vanished. But we do still have rodents in the school because the building hasn't been properly finished.
There has been eight portable trailers on school property for six years. There are still four left. They have been heated and lights on for four years that weren't required.
Vandalism costs have been in thousands. Do the people looking after these matters seem like the people that tax payers can count on?
If there are lands that aren't being used for school buildings or fields I would carefully consider housing if green space isn't valuable.
In such a case I would suggest the school board lease the land for housing to maintain income for many years, opposed to a one time lump sum of money.
I would also suggest low cost housing that favours families with children/students. If sold to developers, our city would collect all the taxes there after.
Bottom line, I think that we needed better planning for the school system and selling of land should be done very carefully with public support.
Steve Mancinelli Coquitlam