Strathcona parents tired of waiting for seismic upgrades 0
Lord Strathcona Elementary School in Vancouver, B.C. on Wednesday December 4, 2013. Parents of a school in Strathcona are concerned the building will be obliterated in the event of a major earthquake or tsunami. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
A day after the City of Vancouver released a report on its earthquake preparedness, parents at Lord Strathcona Elementary are again asking why seismic upgrades to the structure have not taken place.
Tuesday’s report at council showed Strathcona and False Creek to be in an earthquake danger zone and vulnerable to liquefaction of soil and tsunamis.
Liquefaction shakes soil so hard it becomes like liquid, uprooting sewage and utilities, and damaging buildings.
Debra Barker, mother of a Strathona student and another who will eventually attend, said it’s been nine years since seismic upgrades were promised for the school, founded in 1891.
“Strathcona was identified as the No. 1 school for seismic upgrades by the Liberal government,” Barker said. “Since that time we’re still waiting.”
She said engineering reports have been submitted, but a project agreement has still not been signed.
The school is in a BC NDP riding and Barker wonders if that isn’t the reason for the delay.
Vancouver School Board chair Patti Bacchus said Strathcona is a great risk and parents are justified in their frustration.
“We keep getting told it’s coming,” Bacchus said. “I talked to the minister about it in early August and he said it is imminent and next I heard is the treasury board asked for another value analysis.”
In an email, Minister of Education Peter Fassbender said he understands the concerns of the parents, but insisted the project is complex.
“The safety of all B.C. students is a priority, and staff in the Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry of Finance have been working hard to reach a solution that is in the best interests of the local community as well as provincial taxpayers.”