Mission Public School secretary-treasurer Wayne Jefferson points to the roof that is being replaced at Silverdale elementary school. Renovations to the school are expected to be finished in October.

School under construction

Renovations at Silverdale elementary school raises concerns

A Mission parent is furious her son is beginning the school year in a construction zone.

“When I showed up today I was absolutely disgusted with what I saw,” said Courtney Cardy earlier this week. She who believes the health of her asthmatic seven year old son is being compromised. “The whole outer (part) of the building is fenced off and most of it ripped off.”

Cardy said she knew the Silverdale elementary school structure needed to be fixed because there were problems with leaks and “water poured into a classroom” last year, however, parents weren’t aware of the school’s condition until this week.

“We were never told of the renovations,” noted Cardy, who called WorkSafe BC shortly after she saw a man “with a tiger torch hanging over the side of the school.”

“They’re telling me it’s fine, but I’m so angry.”

Cardy’s son coughs and chokes when his airway is constricted. He has an inhaler with him during the day and a steroid inhaler at night.

“I have a kid that just can’t breath,” said Cardy, who alleges there is mould and asbestos in the building.

The school’s aging roof and 60 per cent of its exterior walls are being renovated and upgraded to current building code standards, explained Mission Public School’s secretary treasurer Wayne Jefferson.

The project, which is being funded by the provincial government, began in mid-June and will be completed in before the end of October.

“The work shouldn’t interfere with instruction of students,” said Jefferson, who acknowledged parents and teachers were “a bit surprised” to see the school in the middle of a renovation.

Jefferson explained the mould and asbestos that were found in the building were removed during the summer and there is no risk to staff or students.

There is no indication the environment is not safe, according to Jefferson.

WorkSafe BC been to the school twice and an independent engineer assessing the situation has not raised any issues. The school district will also be arranging to have the air quality tested to alleviate any concerns.

When the construction is finished, the school will be back in great shape and will look like a brand new facility, said Jefferson.

But Cardy, who lives in Stave Falls, isn’t waiting for that. She has plans to move her son to Whonnock elementary in Maple Ridge.

“Why are they resurfacing an old school that’s falling apart?” asked Cardy who would like the school district to re-open Stave Falls elementary school which was closed in 2008. However, she admits she doesn’t have support from other parents at Silverdale elementary.

“I’m still going to fight to have (Silverdale) school moved, but I will not send (my son) back to that school.”