City adds to crowded school: Bose

The City of Surrey is constructing a 144-townhome development in an area with schools already completely overcrowded, a city councillor says.

Surrey council approved the development in the 19400 block 68 Avenue last Monday night, despite concern from Coun. Bob Bose, who was puzzled as to why Surrey would be adding students to the area.

The development is near Hazelgrove Elementary, which was built in 2009. By the time it opened, it already had four portables on site.

A city planning report says the school is currently about 150 pupils over capacity, and projections show the Clayton area will be near three times capacity by 2016.

Bose said the city could have sent the province a strong message by holding back on the development, rather than adding to the population of an overcrowded school.

The school district estimates the city’s project will add 23 elementary students and 12 secondary students when complete in two years.

Denise Moffatt, president of the Surrey Teachers Association, said last week it may be time for Surrey to hold back on some development until the province can catch up with new schools.

Surrey’s population grows by close to 1,000 people per month, many of them young families. The province hasn’t funded a new school here in six years.

Mayor Dianne Watts said holding back on the city’s project would have no effect on the province and wouldn’t bring the Clayton area more schools.

She notes that the provincial formula for capital funding is flawed, and should be revisited by the minister of education.

“They will not provide funding until those students are there,” said Watts. “It’s dead wrong. What they have to do is plan in conjunction with the school district and (the city).”

Under the current system, she said, Surrey has been woefully underfunded for new schools.

“They (provincial officials) haven’t given any capital funding since 2005,” Watts said.

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