Questions submitted at the Ridgeway Annex Community Meeting on November 20th, 2012
Posted on December 14, 2012
1. To all developers that submitted RFP’s please provide specific documentation on where parking will be.
As this process is at a very early stage, developers have provided conceptual images and drawings. As the process continues, should the Board proceed with a redevelopment option for Ridgeway Annex, plans will be refined through consultation with the community and municipal authorities. All proponents have provided their assurance that resident and visitor parking will be provided on-site. Parking plans are reviewed as part of the Building Permit Application.
2. Are the financials of each proposal going to be public information?
The financials of each proposal are confidential information provided to the Board of Education for consideration. The financial benefit to the School District is one of the criteria used in the assessment of the proposal.
3. Atti Group stated “There have been no non-profits who stepped forward to present”. Question to NVSD44, what non-profits have been contacted by NVSD if any, about taking over this property?
The School District did not contact any specific group or individual regarding the assumption of this property. As we look at the potential for the redevelopment or reuse of our land assets, we are required to undertake a fair public process and seek fair market value. The RFP process invites parties to submit responses based on their own needs and capacity.
4. Please provide examples of other daycares in Canada that house 100 or more kids?
While it is unusual for daycares to provide care for 100 or more children, it does occur. Vancouver Coastal Health monitors all community care facilities as a licence is required for all programs and facilities providing care to three or more children who are not related to the operator by blood or marriage. The Child Care Licensing Regulation comes under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act and provides standards for all childcare facilities regardless of the age range of the children and the number of children in care.
5. Will KidsLand be relying on government subsidies to run daycare operations?
There are a number of child care subsidies that are available to families and it is the families of children in care that ultimately determine which care facility suits their needs. There are additional subsidies that are available to child care providers but few, public or private child care providers rely on these subsidies as their primary source of income.
6. One of the Trustees has a property across from the Ridgeway Annex site. Will the Trustee be allowed to take part in any/all decisions as it may impact their personal property value?
To avoid any concern regarding the possible perception of a conflict of interest, this Trustee has voluntarily withdrawn from the decision making process related to the RFP for Ridgeway Annex. This Trustee will not take part in any discussions related to the decision-making process for the Ridgeway Annex property.
Last updated: May 15, 2012
The Board of Education has received a broad range of questions related to land management from members of the community over the last few months. Trustees have made an effort to compile the most frequently asked questions.
We hope you find the answers and the additional information useful and we encourage you to continue asking us questions because it helps to deepen understanding for all of us as well as initiate conversations that clarify and inform.
1. What is ‘surplus property’ exactly?
Property that is retained by the School District, but is no longer being used as a public school nor required for School District purposes.
2. How have we determined that these sites are ‘surplus’?
Declining enrollment, population demographics, educating in an environment of choice (growth of independent schools, cross-boundary and cross-catchment enrollment) are some of the factors that influence student population numbers.
Identifying where schools can operate more efficiently—to ensure we are directing maximum funding to the classroom, and student learning—has resulted in some school closures over the past several years and created the need to address what to do with vacant buildings and space.
3. Don’t we need this land to accommodate future population growth?
Demographic changes such as the aging population and smaller families suggest that not all current NVSD properties will be required to serve as public schools over the long-term. The School District believes it can accommodate potential future enrolment growth within existing operational schools, along with retaining capacity for potential growth through short and medium term leases.
The Board believes that it is wise to retain some of its surplus property to ensure flexibility and accommodate new growth as identified in City and District official community plans.
4. The NVSD sites declining enrolment numbers and demographic shifts as a reason for potentially re-purposing school properties. Eventually population will recover, less transport of kids to school will be the norm, and our land will be needed again in the future. Has NVSD taken these factors into account?
Demographers simply don’t see another boomer explosion similar to the 50s and 60s when many of the School District’s properties were established.
We have an over-supply of buildings today and they aren’t expected in the short, medium or long-term but we will obviously plan for the possibility by keeping properties, the question becomes what do we need to retain as learning environments in the future and what might be repurposed to serve other community and local needs?
5. What are the Board of Education’s goals and objectives in leasing or selling of surplus land?
The NVSD has several objectives. First, we would like to retain sufficient land to provide for long-term School District needs, including sufficient space to accommodate future enrollment growth that may arise from increased density. Second, as stewards of public funds, we have a duty to explore maximum financial returns while pursuing creative solutions that balance both students’ needs as well as the needs of the community. Third, proceeds from any land transactions (leases, rent, sales) would be allocated to enhance the student learning experience and to fund capital projects that are not eligible for government funding.
In planning long-term land management, the NVSD developed 8 principles to guide this process.
6. What decisions, if any, have been made on the sale/lease of specific school properties?
At this time, no decisions have been made for the future long-term use of these assets. We are in the research and proactive community engagement phase right now and our priority at this time is to obtain input from the public.
7. What opportunities are there for me to participate? I want to be involved in future conversations around specific NVSD land management options.
The Board of Education is committed to proactive and ongoing community relations regarding the NVSD land management initiatives. Visit www.blog44.ca/landmanagement and the “Act”, “Attend” and “Connect” pages to learn about ways you can get involved. Please provide your email in the “Subscribe By Email” box at the bottom right column of this screen if you would like to stay informed and participate in future engagement activities.
8. What will the Board of Education do with the feedback from the community engagement process?
All the input that is collected will be reviewed by trustees and will help to broaden their understanding of community perspectives, ideas and priorities. Final decisions are the responsibility of the Board of Education.
9. Who will be consulted in this community engagement process? Are different parties talking to each other (i.e., Government, recreation centre representatives, local daycare providers, universities and colleges, entrepreneurs, Chambers of Commerce…)
The NVSD regularly consults with a variety of stakeholders including parents and students, educators and administrators, neighbours, community partners, business groups, local and provincial governments, First Nations, recreation commissions and sports groups, non-profit groups, the local health authority and the broader community.
In addition, the Board is engaging with local governments through professionally facilitated workshops to initiate conversations and deepen understanding at the City and District levels.
10. When will the School District decide which of the 11 properties it will sell or lease?
The Board of Education has not made any decisions on these properties. Right now, our priority is to engage in proactive community engagement to obtain feedback from local citizens. This consultation process kicked off in April 2012 and will wrap up this fall.
There is no formal timeline on decisions because each property is unique and requires its own process. However, once the overarching community engagement process is completed (in June of 2012), the Board will reflect on the input collected and eventually move forward with a draft plan of land asset recommendations and/or possible decisions for some properties toward the end of 2012.
11. What options is NVSD currently exploring for these 11 properties?
There are three main options that NVSD can consider: short-term rent, long-term lease and re-development or sale, which involves local government and requires public consultation.
The local government process is generally:
1. Meet with municipal planners
2. Hold public information meeting related to specific property
3. Apply for rezoning
4. Town Hall or Developer Information Meeting
5. Advisory Board Review
6. Revision / update to Development Plan
7. Introduction of rezoning bylaw
8. Bylaw readings, public hearing(s)
12. Will there be further meetings with all decision-making bodies and the broader community on community needs for land, facilities, parks and infrastructure for all community members?
Our Spring 2012 consultation outreach includes two large-format public events (April 25 and May 29, respectively) as well as a community-wide public survey. We are also employing a range of communication methods to tell you about opportunities to consult with us. Please refer to page 4 of the consultation guide for details.
13. Why is this happening in North Van, when Surrey is bursting at the seams?
The high cost-of-living on the North Shore and an aging demographic are two major factors in North Vancouver’s ongoing declining enrollment and subsequent school closures. Surrey’s patterns of growth and greater options in affordable living for families have created burgeoning student populations in some areas of their school district.
14. What is the Board’s philosophy around land sales? Is selling public land the right answer?
The Ministry of Education doesn’t fund capital improvement or heritage restorations, which we just completed on one school (Ridgeway) and have a second underway (Queen Mary).
For some time now we have had to find our own creative and holistic solutions to local realities. Land sales or leasing are some possible options to supplement provincial funding. It’s reasonable to assume though, that there’s no single option to be applied to all properties.
Right now the Board is engaged in a process to generate ideas, opinions and dialogue from the community. We look forward to receiving a multitude of perspectives and ideas that can come from good community dialogue.
The Board’s philosophy is one of listening and openness; however, some decisions will eventually have to be made. The Board’s commitment is to make decisions that are in the best interests of students and student learning. We need facilities that are welcoming and enhance the educational environment.
15. Is the land considered provincial or federal and/or public? How is this set up and is it similar in principal as First Nations land rights?
The land is owned by the NVSD, which must manage it in accordance with the School Act and all requirements set out by the Province of BC and consistent with Board Policy 805 Disposition of Land or Facilities.
16. Does NVSD need Ministry of Education approval to lease or sale school sites?
The School District requires the Minister of Education’s approval for sales and leases longer than 10 years. The only exception to this policy is that the Board may sell or enter into a lease term of any length with an independent school.
17. Why are you selling these properties? Does the school district need money?
No decisions have been made to sell any properties; we recognize that they are valuable assets in the community.
Currently, provincial funding must be supplemented so that we can deliver the high-quality of educational programs and services expected in North Vancouver. We are exploring various solutions with the community to achieve this in a manner that balances the needs of students with the needs of the community.
The Board of Education has a duty to be responsible stewards of School District funds and, therefore, must realize the maximum social, financial and environment value of these land assets should they no longer be required for public school use.
18. What benefits to students can be achieved through the leasing or disposition of surplus land?
Student benefits include: enriched educational programs, facilities upgrades (e.g. heritage restoration of Ridgeway and Queen Mary schools would not be possible without the financial contribution from the sale of land parcels on Lonsdale, and Chesterfield Avenues), Outdoor School campus improvements, and school and classroom technology may also benefit from the proceeds of land sales or leases.
19. How does the revenue received from leasing or land sales get used within the School District?
Lease revenue can be used to supplement the operating budget. Annual revenue from school leases is now $1 million annually. Land sales revenue is capital and must be split between local and restricted capital proportional to the Provincial or local government’s contribution towards the purchase price. The Board may decide how to spend local capital funds and the Minister of Education must approve expenditures from restricted capital.
20. Is there a history for each school online? I’d like to know why the schools in this survey were closed, some after very few years of service.
Considerable reporting and context around recent school closure decisions can be found on various pages on our website. We encourage interested members of the community to visit www.sd44.ca to research the schools and information they are most interested in.
21. Has the School District considered alternate uses for surplus school properties?
This community engagement process is an opportunity to have a conversation with the community about potential alternate uses as well as to listen to ideas and concerns related to those potential uses.
In addition, we consider alternate uses through School District Assessments of a property’s potential, Requests for Expressions of Interest, and Requests for Proposals.
22. How does the School District evaluate whether a property should be retained or sold? What evaluations have been conducted to date, when were they conducted and who conducted them?
The biggest factor to consider for retention of a school property is whether there is any likelihood of needing the property as a school in the future or whether the school district has a need to house a district facility or program.
The most recent School District-wide assessment was performed by Matrix Planning in 2007, which looked at demographics 20 years into the future.
23. What is the NVSD’s process for long-term leases?
The School District’s process for leasing existing property is as follows:
1. Request for Expressions of Interest (REI) for a particular property
2. Request for Proposals (RFP) by Invitation based on REI
3. Evaluate RFP’s including informing and gathering input from neighbourhoods
4. Negotiate contracts
5. Board approval
Depending upon the proposed use, and an assessment of community impacts, the Board may engage the community in a local consultation process for a property as well. Decisions may also be influenced by feedback collected through the current community engagement initiative.
24. What stage is the NVSD at in the land management decision-making process?
Land management is broadly divided into three phases and we are currently in the first half of our process:
1. Conduct research. This phase includes all background research, meetings with consultants and municipal planning staff, one public open house, one municipal workshop, one world cafe and a community-wide public survey.
2. Reporting. In the second phase, we report findings and results, as well as look at early recommendations regarding vision, planning ideas and overall direction. We prepare a draft plan with land use recommendations and ongoing community engagement.
3. Next steps. A final plan is presented to the Board of Education for decision-making, either on a per property basis or groups of properties.
25. Is this the only consultation planned?
The Board has made it a priority to conduct proactive community relations and this Spring’s community engagement initiative is part of that process. There will be ongoing public participation opportunities in the future and the Board maintains open channels for the community to connect with Trustees and attend public meetings. In addition, before an individual property’s changes from education to another purpose, the City and District both have a public process that would be followed, which includes further community consultation. (See #11 for local government process)
26. Will any proposed redevelopment consider surrounding neighborhood uses? i.e. no high-rises in single family neighborhood
The local municipality controls the rezoning of all school district surplus lands. The municipality takes into account their Official Community Plan and considers neighboring land use.
27. Have you considered re-purposing the school sites so that they are dedicated to community uses such as community or seniors’ centres or daycare facilities?
The local municipality controls the rezoning of all school district surplus lands. The municipality takes into account their Official Community Plan and considers neighboring land use.
While no decisions have been made on the future use of our 11 properties, we have collected input from members of the community who have expressed a desire for seniors’ facilities as well as daycare facilities.
The Board of Education has a duty to responsibly manage School District funds. One consideration that we must take into account is whether or not community centers and daycares have the capital funds to keep the facility in good repair.
Location and the purpose of a building must also harmonize. Senior centres tend to prefer locating in the heart of residential communities, on flat rather than steep sloping properties, near shopping centres as well as other services and amenities such as public transit.
28. Why are you leasing public schools to independent schools?
Schools are purpose-built and function very well for independent schools because they require minimal renovations and they have the resources to maintain the facility over the long term.
29. What is the lease rate for schools and how do you determine this rate?
When we are seeking a lease tenant for a vacant school we issue a request for proposals and we typically accept the highest bid that is in keeping with our pre-established criteria. We do consider price comparability to existing leases and may refuse bids that are lower than existing leases for comparable facilities and lease terms.
30. What is the total value of the NVSD properties under review?
There is no single, accurate figure available at this time that reflects combined value. Land assessments don’t paint an accurate picture because the value is currently based on public assembly zoning, and a more accurate value of land is dependent on the usage and whether or not it can be rezoned. Because no decisions have been made on the use of each property, we don’t have definitive numbers of value. Appraisals will be pursued according to the Board’s direction on a specific property or properties in preparation for final decision-making.
31. Can the NVSD explain reasons why the School District is holding on to these properties and how much it is costing to do so? Also, can you explain why the School District is not selling the properties?
The School District is holding Westover, Maplewood and Fromme because we have found compatible tenants and the lease revenue adds $1 million annually to our operating budget. It makes sense to hold on to properties where there is reasonable probability of the site being required for future growth. It does not make sense to hold properties where there is little or no future growth projected.
The annual cost of holding on to an empty school is between $10,000 and $20,000. This pays for the security system, minimal heat in winter and some repairs that arise from vandalism. A vacant school may attract more vandalism over the long term, which is not good for the local neighborhood. Old schools require large capital upgrades on a periodic basis to maintain them at a functional level. For example, a boiler replacement or a roof replacement can each exceed $400,000 for an elementary school.
32. Will any of the monetary gain from land sales go directly into programming?
Land sale proceeds must be used as capital, some of which could be used to fund programming such as the purchase of computers. Revenue from long-term leases would be used for programs or capital.
33. Are there ideas to restore some wildlife habitat around these schools?
Unfortunately the School District is not funded for habitat restoration; therefore, there are no plans to restore wildlife habitat around surplus schools.
34. Why can’t we hold these properties forever?
It would be costly to hold schools forever without some form of compensation or a third party assuming the holding and maintenance costs of the property. One way the School District can hold these properties is through a long-term lease (e.g. 100-year). Additional ongoing revenue may also be realized through re-purposing the property while maintaining it as a long-term lease.
35. By which date are trustees hoping to have a plan in place? The Trustees assure the public that no decisions have been made regarding the sale of land so my question is “If a proposal is put to the Board by District staff, will the Board be flexible in considering the proposal?”
The Board of Education must ultimately do what is in the best interests of the School District and may consider proposals for the sale or long-term lease of land upon completion of the community engagement process. Although the final decision rests with the Board, your input influences the options considered during the land management process.
36. Would the trustees consider establishing a land management strategy that prohibits land sales?
The Board must act in the best interests of the School District. Prohibiting land sales entirely may result in the need to divert education funding to pay for the holding costs of vacant buildings and result in lost opportunities to enhance educational opportunities for today’s students.
37. It seems like selling off properties is a short-term solution to budget shortfalls. What innovative thinking has been made around attractive programs to entice more students into the district?
The Board is not selling properties to fund budget shortfalls. Good budget management has allowed the School District to add back $1 million of program spending in each of the past two fiscal years. In the last five years, the School District has added new programs such as International Baccalaureate, the soccer academy, digital media academy and additional distributed learning programs to provide more options and richer education programming to students.
Maintaining old surplus schools even at a minimal level is extremely expensive. This becomes a financial liability that reduces the maintenance budget for functioning schools.
38. Has anyone looked at the history of births in Canada? Usually recessions yield more children. Therefore selling off properties may hurt future generations to come.
The School District works with professional demographers who have provided us with 20-year forecasts. This forecast does not predict much enrolment growth after the School District plateaus in the next 3 to 5 years. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that education service delivery is changing rapidly and likely will not be delivered the same way nor use land as intensively as it did in the 1950s and 1960s when most of our schools were built. The School District also works with municipalities to ensure that school property is maintained in areas slated for growth.
39. If land is sold, who gets to keep the money and what will it be used for?
The School District would keep all land sale proceeds, but depending on whether the provincial government or local government paid for it, the proceeds may be split between restricted capital and local capital. The Board has authority over spending local capital. The Minister of Education must approve expenditures of restricted capital funds. Proceeds of land sales must be spent on capital such as computers and buildings (including replacement and repairs).
40. Why don’t you put some effort into keeping schools open and generate some business / educational opportunities?
The School District has provided many new educational programs to keep students in the public system in North Vancouver; however, parents have a legal right to have their children educated wherever they want including at private and independent schools and in other School Districts.
Also, the number of school children in the public system is heavily dependent upon the cost and availability of housing. It is difficult for young families to afford a townhouse or single family home when prices are so much higher here than in Surrey or Langley, for example.
Moreover, the School District generates $1 million annually from the leases to three independent schools at Maplewood, Fromme and Westover.
41. What does NVSD do with land where schools have closed down?
The Board of Education is considering the options for the sale, lease or repurposing of land for school sites that are surplus to our education needs.
42. Would you ever become land developers?
The Board may consider becoming a land developer after the community engagement process in completed; however, land development is risky and the School District would have to have a source of funds to pay for the upfront costs of rezoning.
43. Have you considered separating out the grades into separate schools?
Having single grade schools would not be educationally sound and result in very small schools that would be costly and operationally inefficient.
44. How are you going to prevent selling out to the developers and keep the interests of the community in the forefront?
The School District has worked successfully with a developer in the past (i.e. Lonsdale school site and current board office site) to address both School District and community needs. That project funded the new Education Services Centre which features the Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art, funded the premium cost of the heritage restoration of Ridgeway and Queen Mary schools, the upgrade of Rey Sargent Park, and donated land to HYAD and non-profit society that plans to create housing for young adults with disabilities.
45. Which properties are the most valuable in terms of land and/or development potential? Which properties are the most costly to maintain? Which properties are in potential growth areas for younger families? Which properties are still of value to NVSD in terms of revenue producers? Does the revenue out strip the cost of maintaining it?
The Lucas Center is likely the most valuable School District property because at 12 acres, it is the largest surplus school site. Schools around the District of North Vancouver’s (DNV) town centers (such as Maplewood and Fromme) are areas of potential growth for younger families if developers propose affordable family housing and the DNV agrees to the rezoning.
During the District’s OCP consultation process, the DNV expressed concern about the lost generation of 20 – 40 year olds living in the District. This age group is most likely to have the young families that will attend public school yet is apparently living somewhere other than North Vancouver.
Policies enacted by the City or District of North Vancouver that encourage developers to build ground oriented housing may result in more young families remaining here.
Our surplus school facilities are old (50+ years of age) requiring significant repairs and maintenance for the tenant. The School District does not have funds to maintain these buildings so potential tenants need to have the resources to renovate and repair the facility as well as keep the grass cut and fields maintained for community use.
46. What can be sold and is this really advisable long term? What properties can be rented and possibly used again in the future? There has been no clear indication of how School District employees and programs are to be housed (e.g., Learning Services has not been included in a plan.)
The School District is considering longer term (i.e. 100 year) leases so that the property returns to the School District’ control in the future to be repurposed again as a school or potentially leased out again as a source of revenue. Properties that are do not meet current standards for school sites (i.e. Ridgeway Annex and Monteray) and those that haven’t been used as schools for an extended period of time such as Cloverley and Lucas Center (closed as neighborhood schools over 30 years ago) and may be good candidates for sale or very long term lease opportunities.
Further rentals/leases beyond Maplewood, Fromme and Westover may be challenging unless the Board is prepared to consider leasing to other private schools or even facilitating entirely new independent schools. Repurposing a school facility as something other than a school is costly.
There are few businesses and non-profit groups who would wish to spend heavily on renovating a 50 year old plus building because it would likely trigger building code upgrades such as asbestos removal, installation of sprinkler systems. Non-profit groups are particularly challenged to pay the cost of renovations as well as maintaining the building on an ongoing basis.
47. Is the potential re-purposing of properties to be used for only kids and families?
The Board hasn’t made any decisions on the re-purposing of properties yet but our first priority is to meet the needs of students and deliver enriched educational programs and services.
48. What revenue do we receive from the provincial education budget and how will this revenue be offset with the new land use?
Revenue from strategic use of surplus school sites is additional revenue for the School District to reinvest in quality educational programs and will not reduce grant revenue from the provincial government.
49. Regarding renting out these properties to others, how much research has been done to determine the potential income from this?
The School District has been leasing and renting out surplus school sites for the past nine years and it is clear that independent schools provide the most profit to the School District for leases of ten years or less. More research must be done to determine there are other interested tenants for leases of more than ten years.
50. I am not clear where the funding came from to build such a beautiful building to house a gallery and new school board office when schools are being closed and programs cut.
The Education Services Building and the Gordon Smith Gallery were paid for by a $2 million donation from the Smith Foundation, a grant from heritage Canada and the proceeds of the sale of 2 ½ acres of the Lonsdale school site to Polygon, a housing developer.
51. Why do you feel selling the land is the only answer?
Selling land is not the only answer. The Board wishes to strategically maximize its land assets and use proceeds to enhance public education. This may involve a combination on land sales, land leases and retention of selected properties for the Board’s long-term use.
52. How many properties is the Board considering selling/asking for rezoning?
The Board has not yet made decisions to sell or rezone property. Potentially some property may be sold but the number is not yet known.
53. What is the business plan? It should not be short-term revenue like sales of land. It should be long-term revenue growth through lease and new business start-up.
The Board is considering various long-term options including the creation of an endowment. The endowment would be invested and only the returns would be used to supplement the operating budget.
54. Who is approaching the NVSD with purchase options to date? What proposals are being put forth by the City, the North Vancouver Recreation Commission and other major stakeholders?
The only proposals received to date are for Plymouth and Monteray in response to a request for expressions of interest (REI) the Board issued last spring. The REI process was halted to enable the public consultation process commenced earlier this year and all proponents advised that the REI was on hold.
To date, we have received no proposals from other levels of government or NVRC for these properties.
55. How equipped is the Board to be an effective landlord and what interest is there for tenanting these buildings from both the business community or private school market? Can we generate and manage mixed private/public agreements without selling off our ownership of the property?
The School District has been leasing surplus school properties for nine years and is currently earning $1 million annually on leases from three schools. All school lands are zoned as public assembly, which generally limits usage to some form of government, school or community use. General business use would be prohibited on these lands without rezoning approval from the local municipality.
56. Where can I learn more about the land management initiatives?
There are a variety of ways you can stay connected to learn more about the NVSD’s land management initiatives.
57. How and when will decisions be made and by what means will decisions be published?
The Board of Education will consider whether it has sufficient information to move forward and make decisions in June. Decisions made by the Board at a public meeting are posted on the NVSD website and through our land assets news update emails.
58. How will you keep all of the NVSD properties, realizing that as a public body, NVSD as well as the Ministry of Education, should be planning for the next 100 years? What research has NVSD done to create a cost-recovery plan for all of the sites? Can NVSD take selling the sites off of the table?
There are many considerations in planning for the next 100 years including the form of education delivery at that time. Given the increasing use of technology, the Board must consider whether schools will be as land intensive then as now.
The Board intends to address the uncertainty by retaining selected properties in areas of growth potential. One option to consider is 100-year leases where a property is fully repurposed today, while ensuring that unforeseen societal changes can be addressed in future.
59. How much money do you really save closing schools down and how do you plan to put the money right back into the district to be used for schools now?
The School District has already realized significant annual operating savings from school closures of approximately $250,000 to $500,000 for an elementary school and over $900,000 annually for a secondary school. Those savings have enabled the Board to return $1 million in new program spending to the budget in both of the past 2 fiscal years.
60. I feel that that a clear strategy on how the funds received from the disposal of these assets would be used needs to be articulated. Considering that these funds would be restricted to capital purchase only, how will they be used? By the time the lands are disposed, the remaining two old high schools and Seymour elementary will have been replaced. Leaving the funds in the bank to collect interest for operational activities would be questionable use. What would we spend the money on?
The Province’s recent new seismic project announcements are good news for the School District and will likely facilitate the renovation or entire replacement of Argyle and Handsworth as part of the Province’s 10-year plan to address all high priority seismic schools. It may take many more years to see the replacement of Seymour Heights or any of the other 11 elementary schools that no longer qualify for a structural seismic upgrade. Most wood frame elementary schools are now only eligible for non-structural seismic upgrades. At least 12 elementary schools in North Vancouver are in poor or deficient condition and it is unclear whether the Province will fund a capital replacement project program under which the needs of these schools will be addressed.