Lord Strathcona elementary school still waiting for seismic upgrades
Although it was selected for earthquake proofing in 2005 along with two schools on the west side of Vancouver, an East Side elementary school is getting left behind.
While a $19.1-million seismic upgrade is taking place at Queen Mary and the construction of a brand-new, $14.7-million General Gordon school will start in the fall, Lord Strathcona elementary school has yet to secure funding from the province.
“The community is really getting frustrated,” Vision Vancouver school trustee Rob Wynen told the Straight in an interview. “They feel that this has just been put off year after year after year.”
In a February 26 letter, B.C. Ministry of Education official Doug Stewart told the Vancouver school district to “engage an independent value analysis consultant” whose mandate includes providing an opinion about “potential cost savings or efficiencies”.
School-board chair Patti Bacchus responded in a letter dated March 14, asserting that “another cost analysis exercise would be largely academic”.
Bacchus noted that, unlike Queen Mary and General Gordon, Lord Strathcona has four buildings on the heritage registry of the City of Vancouver. Seismic upgrades at Lord Strathcona will, therefore, cost more than at the two West Side schools. She also wrote that the original project estimate of $36 million was pared down to $29.9 million last fall in a review that involved representatives of the education ministry.
Lord Strathcona is located in the solidly New Democrat riding of Vancouver–Mount Pleasant.
“There may not be the amount of political pressure on the Liberals to move this one ahead partly because of the riding it’s in,” Wynen said.