Petition to The Honourable Rob Fleming, BC Minister of Education, Mr. Michael Nyikes, Director, Standards & Construction Branch, BC Ministry of Education
Accelerate Seismic Upgrades for High Risk BC Schools
Parents have been advocating for years, but the recent earthquake in Mexico City makes the devastating consequences of inaction real for friends and relatives of children and staff in 165 schools across BC considered at highest risk of collapse during an earthquake. Although some progress on seismic upgrades has been made, it has been far too slow. Of schools in the BC Seismic Mitigation program, only 48% (165/346) have been completed over the course of almost a decade. And for high risk schools remaining on the list, there has been no clear prioritization process or timelines articulated for getting the job done. The new BC NDP government needs to prove it can do better. Dedicate the funding and provide clear timelines and a transparent process for prioritizing and accelerating upgrades to the remaining schools on BC's seismic upgrade list. Between school and out of school care, many of our children spend ten hours a day in these buildings – and are likely to be there when earthquakes strike. The law compels our children to attend school; it is at best immoral and at worst unconstitutional that they are required to do so under unsafe conditions. Our children do not have unions. As parents and voters, we must be their voice. Every day, as I drop my kids to school, I try not to imagine the consequences if we don’t. Mexico's recent experience made my worst imaginings real. Why are we still waiting for safe schools?