Honourable Rob Fleming
Minister of Education, Government of British Columbia
PO Box 9045, Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, BC V8W9E2
Dear Minister Rob Fleming,
I am writing in support of North Vancouver School District 44’s decision to prioritize the new K-7 school request proposed for the Cloverley School site in their most recently-updated Capital Plan.
Over the past year, many parents and community members have spoken with me about their concerns regarding enrollment pressures in the elementary schools serving the southern half of the City of North Vancouver. Parents express that they are pleased with the restoration of the classroom size and composition contract language that was illegally stripped away by the previous government and are relieved that the fourteen year battle wages by the previous government on teachers has finally come to a close. Unfortunately, the restored contract language to reduce classroom sizes has also resulted in further space pressures at Ridgeway, Queen Mary, Brooksbank, and Queensbury Elementary Schools. New residential developments in Moodyville are also expected to increase elementary student enrollment and add to the urgency with which a new elementary school is needed.
Some community members have advocated the need for a new school in the Lower Lonsdale area, while even more have expressed their support for the re-opening or re-building of a school at the existing Cloverley site.
Earlier this year, I went for a tour through the existing Cloverley School and agree with the School District that it cannot be reopened in its current state. I also agree that the cost to rehabilitate it would not be an effective investment of public funds. During my tour I saw the narrow hallways and low ceilings, water-damaged walls, mould drenched carpets, pests, and more. A visit to the gym revealed a large mound in the middle of the floor where wooden floorboards that have soaked up years of rainwater leaking through the roof have expanded and pushed themselves towards the ceiling. A renovation of the space would no doubt also require costly remediation work to remove hazardous materials (asbestos and mould) as well as structural and seismic upgrades. A full replacement in this case is absolutely necessary.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. As Minister of Education you have been tasked with repairing nearly sixteen years of damage done to the public education system under the previous government, which places you under incredible time and cost pressures. This is no doubt a daunting challenge, but you and your team have made incredible strides in a short period of time. BC students, parents, and residents alike are very fortunate to have you on their side and working for them.
In your service,
Bowinn Ma, MLA
Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-ulh Temíxw & səlil̓wətaʔɬ təməxʷ