Data from the 2006 census shows that while nearby areas of Vancouver (Dunbar Heights, West Tench, and Spanish Banks) have near zero population growth, UBC/UEL areas have grown by almost 40%. Nearly one quarter of all housing (privately owned or rented) has been built since 2001. With further plans for housing in play it is likely that by the next census in 2011 the area population may well double again!
According to the 2006 census data there are 1,545 school age children living at UBC/UEL. There are an additional 680 children under the age of six.
Where are these kids going to school? Some of them (about 1,050) are in the two U Hills. But what about the rest of them? A few are in alternative programs like French Immersion at Jules Quesnel, a handful are even at Queen Elizabeth Annex. And, it is likely that a few are enrolled in private schools. But, the majority of these 500 children have to bus away from home to schools as far away as Bayview Elementary or Trafalgar.
The data shows what’s happening, growth in some areas stagnation in others. It’s time to Rebuild our Schools.
Download UBC/UEL 2006 Census Data.
COPE | The Coalition of Progressive Electors
Seismic upgrading concerns emerge:
“I am appalled that since this NPA-dominated board has come to power in 2005, not a single Vancouver school has been approved for seismic upgrading,” said COPE Trustee Allan Wong.
Wong notes that the UBC/Dunbar Study schedules University Hill Secondary and Queen Elizabeth Main Elementary for seismic upgrading, bumping them above other schools that were accorded a higher priority on the VSB list of designated schools. Wong says this is as an example of how the current isolated approach is distorting district-wide planning.
There is a minor error in the COPE news release quoted above: -they state that U Hill Secondary is being bumped ahead of other schools for seismic. This is incorrect. U Hill Secondary is not up for seismic upgrades. Under the past COPE majority Board, U Hill Secondary was placed on the capital spending plan for a renovation to increase the school to 675 students. This isn’t jumping ahead, it’s barely keeping pace.
COPE School Trustees oppose sale of Queen Elizabeth school annex. | COPE
What is the solution that COPE offers for rebuilding our schools? It is clear they are opposed to the NPA’s approach (and with good reason); but what is their plan that will have students currently forced onto buses back into neighbourhood schools before they grow up? It is one thing to take an oppositional perspective, to speak for the ‘big picture,’ but what about the children right now who don’t have access to a proper school? What a bout the families without the means to drive their children across town to school? What about equity? It’s a hard solution and it takes courage to start reallocating public resources. Sometimes it is a job that has to be done.
Over the past several weeks a variety of concerns and complaints have been expressed regarding UBC’s obligations toward building a new high school within the campus area. Some have argued that UBC is completely responsible to build any such schools west of Blanca. As previously noted, however, the responsibility for building schools is provincial and the local institution to do that is the Vancouver Board of Education.
Following a meeting with representatives of all of the affected UBC/Dunbar School Parent Advisory Councils Friday January 25th, Stephen Owen issued a letter outlining and clarifying UBC’s obligations. At the meeting itself (held in response to the parent’s earlier letter to Prof Toope) Mr. Owen was clear in expressing the desire of the University to work with all parties to facilitate a resolution to the current issues that can meet the very real needs of a school for children in the UBC area.
Facebook | Rebuild U Hill
From the facebook group description:
The Vancouver School Board is in the process of reviewing schools in the UBC/Dunbar area of the schools district. Students living west of Blanca are terribly served by the Vancouver School Board.
We like our schools, but consider the following:
The elementary school is over capacity at 550 students. Nearly 200 additional elementary students have to be bussed to school.
The secondary school was built for 325 and has over 500 students in it. Nearly 150 students have been turned away! The building is in extremely poor condition.
The school board plan isn’t perfect, but it will address the needs of hundreds of children how toady don’t have the luxury of a neighbourhood school
We need new schools NOW!
The following VSB map shows the location of students attending the QEA Download file