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HomeBusinessVancouver School Board pondering sale of land on Boundary Road 

Vancouver School Board pondering sale of land on Boundary Road 

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Bob Mackin

A Vancouver School Board committee took another step June 7 toward selling or leasing land on the border with Burnaby. 

Behind closed-doors on May 29, the board decided to begin a public consultation process about whether to declare the eastern part of the Graham Bruce Community Elementary School land as surplus.

Graham Bruce Elementary (VSB)

“Bruce Elementary has a larger site area (1.98 hectares) when compared to the average VSB elementary school size (1.78 hectares),” said a memo to parents from Principal Karen Noel-Bentley. “Staff are proposing to sell or long-term lease the eastern portion to generate necessary capital revenue to address board capital commitments and priorities that would benefit students in the VSB.”

The matter came to the facilities planning committee on Wednesday, where school board trustees heard from communications manager Jiana Chow about the 0.39 hectare portion targeted for subdivision. 

“If the board decides to surplus the area, it is looking at about 1.59 hectares left for the Bruce school site,” Chow said.

“The district must consider future enrolment growth, including K to 12, adult programs and early learning, we must also consider alternative community use of surplus space.”

Chow said consultations would be held with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, the Bruce school community and neighbouring communities and residents associations, such as Renfrew, Grenfell, Collingwood, Norquay and Windermere, along with Vancouver city hall and BC Housing. 

“If the board does decide to surplus the area, then we can begin conversations about the disposition of the site or the area,” Chow said. “And this case, it would be either a sale or long term lease.”

The move comes while a B.C. Supreme Court judge decides the fate of a petition filed by the Queen Elizabeth Annex Parents’ Society against closure of the French immersion elementary school in Dunbar. A three-day court hearing ended June 2. 

In April, the board voted to close the school and declare it surplus, due to high operating costs and declining enrolment, despite forecasts for increased population across the city. 

The committee also decided to forward a report to the board recommending permanent closure of Sir Guy Carleton Elementary School at Kingsway and Joyce. The school that originally opened in 1896 has not reopened from a 2016 fire and it could be sold off. The estimated cost of repairs is $8 million to $10 million and the building is considered a high seismic risk. The board will consider June 26 whether to begin consultations on a surplus declaration and sale process. 

Meanwhile, the committee heard from director of educational planning John Dawson that the promised, $86 million school near the Olympic Village is in project development report stage. A major, five-year capital program proposal to the Ministry of Education has put Mackenzie, Renfrew and False Creek elementary schools and David Thompson and Killarney secondaries at the top of the list for seismic upgrading or replacement. It is also proposing new elementary schools near University Hill secondary and the Roberts Annex site. 

The wish list through 2030 for seismic mitigation and expansion across the district totals more than $1.8 billion. 

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