Tracy Loffler says the Board of Education is busy advocating for the community, and has sent a letter to Premier John Horgan, telling him the NDP government needs to keep its promise and build Mission a new secondary school.
Loffler, board chair of Mission Public Schools, penned the letter, on behalf of the entire Board of Education, expressing their frustration that “Ecole Mission Senior Secondary seismic replacement has been deferred indefinitely, and that we must resubmit this project alongside our other 5-year capital priorities.”
The letter goes on to say that on Oct. 13, 2020, the NDP government made an election promise to replace Mission Senior Secondary School. The school was originally built in the early 1950s.
“There was no mention of a seismic upgrade or retrofit, but a promise for a full replacement. NDP MLA Candidate Pam Alexis said at the time, ‘A John Horgan government will put the needs of Mission students, their families, and our community first. We need a new school that provides quality learning environment and helps deliver the best education possible for our students.’”
After the election, the board was advised that a business case for a seismic upgrade, retrofit or full replacement had to be submitted. To date, the cost for creating this plan is $193,789.57 and is to be reimbursed by the province once the project has been approved.
“We received notification that the project has been dropped from our capital plan with a note that it is now delayed. The board is now burdened with carrying the cost of the business plan for an undetermined number of years. This is money that will not be available for other local capital projects and maintenance.”
The letter goes on to state that due to extremely rapid growth it is anticipated that four new elementary schools will be needed within the next 10-20 years.
“We estimate the cost of creating four new business plans for these schools to be in the range of one million dollars. We do not have the local capital funds to proceed with creating the business plans, and then carrying these costs potentially for years.”
The letter concludes with Loffler saying the board understands the significant capital cost pressures for the province, but the school still has to be built.
“Our community was promised a replacement school during the 2020 Provincial election by the NDP party. It is now 2022 and we are further behind on this project than we were two years ago. Your government made a promise to the community of Mission, and we are asking you to keep that promise and move the Ecole Mission Senior Secondary School replacement to the top of the list for Major Capital projects.”
See the full letter below.