MLAs Pam Alexis and Bob D’Eith speak to the media during a rally for a new Mission Secondary School. / Kevin Mills Photo

MLAs Pam Alexis and Bob D’Eith speak to the media during a rally for a new Mission Secondary School. / Kevin Mills Photo

Small rally held to demand construction of new Mission Secondary School

MLAs Pam Alexis, Bob D’Eith on hand to speak with group, say they are confident it will get built

The protest may have been small, but the message was heard, Mission parents want a new high school.

Only four people showed up for the rally in front of Abbotsford-Mission MLA Pam Alexis’ office this morning (June 9) to voice their concerns about the NDP government’s decision to defer the new Mission Secondary School project.

“I don’t actually care about how many people turned out, as long as the message gets out,” said event organizer Candace Koch.

“We would like to send a message to the NDP government that Mission values our education system. That we are not happy with the decision to defer the high school project.”

Mission Secondary is now 70 years old and at 109 per cent capacity, said Koch, adding that both Hatzic and Albert McMahon Elementary also need replacement.

She is also concerned with the Silverdale area, which she believes will need another school due to the planned growth.

“Parents all over the province should be asking the question why are they funding a billion dollar museum right now? That could pay for 10 high schools.”

Both Alexis and Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith were present at the rally to talk with the protesters.

“I can tell you that MLA D’Eith, Bob and I, are advocating constantly to make sure that this becomes a reality because we understand where parents are coming from,” Alexis said.

As a two term school board member, Alexis said she gets the passion that’s behind anything to do with school budgets or a school rebuild, adding they are committed to the project and are confident it will get done.

D’Eith said there are many competing priorities within the province.

“The school was deferred in the last budget, but that does not mean it won’t go ahead,” he said.

D’Eith noted the NDP has actually doubled the amount of funding for schools and that he is confident “we are going to get this built.”

As for the nearly $800 million BC museum project, the MLAs say it’s a separate issue.

“The museum is a completely different budget and really has nothing to do with the budget that we are talking about with respect to schools and school replacement,” said Alexis, adding they would never take money from the Ministry of Education budget and put it towards the museum.