B.C. Liberals continue to stall vital seismic upgrade

VICTORIA — The Liberals’ failure to deliver on their 2005 promise to seismically upgrade Lord Strathcona Elementary School is unacceptable, says Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Jenny Kwan.

“In 2005, the B.C. Liberals promised to upgrade Strathcona Elementary. Years later, nothing had been done, and in 2008 they promised once again to upgrade this school,” said Kwan. “Despite their promises and the fact that this school is ranked number one on the Vancouver School Board’s list of schools needing seismic upgrading, the Liberals continue to stall on this urgent matter that affects the safety of children in our community.”

Parents of children at the school are frustrated by the years of delays and the fact that schools lower on the seismic risk list are being prioritised over Strathcona Elementary, which has the highest risk rating in the Vancouver School district.

“Of course all schools need to be safe and therefore it surprises me that the government has dragged their heels in approving a seismic upgrade of the oldest and most dangerous school buildings in Vancouver,” said local parent Veronica Light.

“It's frustrating as a parent and a community member to watch this government prioritise others schools over ours over and over again – especially when it was their review that identified Strathcona as being at the highest risk.,” said local parent Caitlin Hertzman.

Kwan noted that it’s vital to continue to make progress on seismic upgrading on all schools at risk, but said she understands why parents are frustrated.

“Parents have every right to be upset when their children are attending the most seismically unsafe school in the district, and instead of getting on with it, the Liberals continue to stall,” said Kwan.

What makes matters worse said Kwan, is the fact that the Liberals campaigned on the seismic upgrade during the 2009 election, and then, after getting elected, ignored the needs of the community.

“The safety of children shouldn't be treated as a disposable election promise,” said Kwan. “New Democrats are offering change for the better, one practical step at a time.”