Parents, school boards unimpressed with project delays, as NDP defends $800M seismically safe museum project
The British Columbia government is ending the academic year on the defensive after several school districts were told they would not be receiving any new money for much-needed infrastructure projects.
School districts in Vancouver, Mission, Greater Victoria, the Kootenays and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows all recently learned their requests for capital funding had been denied by the Ministry of Education. The money had been requested to build new schools and seismically upgrade buildings at risk of collapsing in an earthquake.
At the same time, critics are highlighting the B.C. NDP’s recent announcement of an almost $800 million seismically safe rebuild of the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria. While the government insists the museum investment has not pulled money from school project funding, the optics are not sitting well with parents, school boards and opposition parties.
“To spend a billion dollars for a brand new Royal B.C. Museum that nobody wanted, while halting construction on already announced schools that parents and teachers were promised, is unacceptable,” said B.C. Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon in a statement.
Falcon says Premier John Horgan is using costs associated with last year’s fires and floods as an excuse to freeze school spending despite forging ahead with a “boondoggle museum project.”
Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau said families are being let down by the government’s spending priorities.
But the provincial government rejects these claims.