Our View: New schools just the start

It came as an early Christmas gift to the region but it’s also just one step in repairing a provincial education system that has appeared a little tattered as of late.

It came as an early Christmas gift to the region but it’s also just one step in repairing a provincial education system that has appeared a little tattered as of late.

Education Minister George Abbott announced earlier this week what many people have been waiting to hear for years: Belmont secondary will be replaced in a new location and a new high school will be built in Royal Bay. Abbott also confirmed that the province will help fund the replacement of Oak Bay High to the tune of $50 million.

Combine that project with the budget for the West Shore schools, estimated to cost $100 million, and many local tradespeople can count on being employed for years.

Replacing Belmont is long overdue. Maintenance staff in the Sooke School District have done yeoman service to keep the patchwork of buildings in safe and working order. Duct tape fixes, a long-running joke at the school, are but a minor problem. The city block-long structure needs a seismic overhaul.

To the relief of school staff and district trustees, the Education Ministry wisely opted to build two schools, as opposed to a single building, which was hinted at earlier this year.

A long and often frustrating lobbying campaign by trustees, superintendents, students and local politicians played no small role in swaying the highest levels of government to release capital funding. As acknowledged by Abbott, in this case the squeaky wheel does indeed get the grease.

His announcement also shows the B.C. Liberals will hand out money for good projects, regardless of the political stripes of area MLAs.

And that might be the bigger message. Our province once had a reputation across Canada for the quality of our education system. Sadly, after decades of political partisanship creeping into the system, B.C. no longer enjoys that reputation.

It’s time to push back against any agenda that doesn’t have students as the top priority in our education system. Schools should not be built simply to impress voters and extend a government’s mandate. These institutions are vital for the future of our province and decisions affecting them are truly larger than politics.

Just Posted

Gate at Mount Douglas Park smashed on Wednesday night

It is suspected that a motorist drove through after being locked in after 11 p.m.

Canadians may experience EpiPen shortage, says Health Canada

The EpiPen Jr is not affected by this shortage

Turf field project at Esquimalt High School awaits government response

The Es-Whoy-Malth Community Field Collaborative would see new fields and a clubhouse installed

New home in Saanich for adults with disabilities moves closer to fruition

Anonymous donor steps up with $1 million donation during fundraising campaign

North Saanich extends search for Sandown operator after only one credible proposal

District extends deadline for operator bids to Aug. 30 at 3 p.m.

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: IIO

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

Clock’s ticking to share how you feel about Daylight Saving Time in B.C.

Provincial public survey ends at 4 p.m. on Friday

Most Read