Report lays out ideas for speeding up development approval process

Chilliwack students benefit from third capital project in six months

Students at Vedder Elementary will soon see their school grow along with them, thanks to a 10-classroom addition that will get students out of portables and into classrooms.

“Chilliwack is one of the fastest growing communities in British Columbia, which means there is a huge demand for classroom seats,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “That’s why this investment – along with recent announcements of two new schools – is so important. We want students to thrive in dynamic, inclusive and safe learning spaces.”

The Government of B.C. is investing $11.8 million for the 240-seat addition, allowing five in-use portables to be removed from the school. The construction, which will not require students to be displaced, includes a two-storey addition on the south side of the school and more parking.

“This is great news for families in Chilliwack,” said Dan Coulter, chair, Chilliwack Board of Education. “Thanks to this government’s commitment to investing in schools, our district will be able to get 240 kids out of portables.”

The new addition is expected to be completed in time for the 2022-23 school year.

 “The Vedder Elementary Parent Advisory Council (PAC) is thrilled that the creation of more seats and the removal of portables was made a priority at our school, which is bursting at the seams,” said Melanie Reuter, Vedder Elementary’s PAC president.

The Province is also providing $15.4 million for a new 600-seat secondary school at the former University of the Fraser Valley North campus and $48.6 million for South Side Elementary-Middle school, which will have capacity for 930 students.

The Province has announced over $91 million for Chilliwack school expansion projects in the last two years, adding 1,770 new student seats, which should eliminate the need for up to 70 of the nearly 100 portables in the district.

These investments are part of government’s plan to build new and expanded schools in fast-growing communities throughout B.C.

Since September 2017, the Province has announced over $1.8 billion in school capital investments for 83 projects. Budget 2020 includes a $2.8-billion capital investment for new, expanded and seismically safe schools, the biggest capital budget in B.C.’s history.

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