VSB needs more time to finish seismic plan, chair says

The chair of the Vancouver School Board says he's frustrated the province hasn't allowed an extension to finish a seismic upgrade plan, arguing the board will have to rush to meet the January deadline.

Board chair warns rushing will leave no time for community consultation

VSB chair Mike Lombardi says he's frustrated the province won't allow an extension to finish the seismic upgrade plan. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The chair of the Vancouver School Board says he's frustrated the province hasn't allowed an extension to finish a seismic upgrade plan, arguing the board will have to rush to meet the January deadline.

Mike Lombardi says the province has asked for a plan to be produced by the end of next month. The original due date was June 30, 2015, but the VSB asked for an extension because it needed more time to consult the public.

The province extended that deadline to January, but Lombardi says he still needs more time to consult parents and the community.

"The big part missing is going to be community consultations," Lombardi said. "In order to engage in a long-term plan we need to consult with our parents and stakeholders."

The school board had asked the province to extend the deadline from the end of January until June 16, 2016. But the extension was denied.

 NDP critic Rob Fleming said that was a bad decision considering the government originally committed to upgrading all schools by 2020, but then pushed the goal to 2030.

 "I think for them to put hard-and-fast deadlines after they produced delay, after delay, after delay is disingenuous," Fleming said.

The Ministry has argued it's important to move forward as quickly as possible. Vancouver is planning 32 seismic upgrades to schools over the next 10 years.
    

with files by Richard Zussman

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