Education Minister talks capital concerns during Kamloops visit

By Jill Sperling
November 17, 2017 - 4:18pm Updated: November 17, 2017 - 6:52pm

KAMLOOPS — B.C.'s education minister paid a visit to a couple of Kamloops schools today. 

Rob Fleming took some time away from discussions with school district officials to hand out library cards to 3rd graders at Westmount Elementary. 

Westmount has been identified by the school district as one of its priority capital projects, with the school's population outgrowing the facility. 

"I have to say it was very disappointing to come into government and see that there was very little under development by the previous government," Fleming said. "What we have done is try to expedite all of the deficiencies around school development we've seen, so whether that's on the seismic side or new schools in fast-growing districts, or old schools that are coming to the end of their useful life. 

"We've seen some of that in Kamloops. We're trying to get to more school projects in every corner of British Columbia, Kamloops is no different. It has its needs, and they've made a good case for that kind of investment today."

The Kamloops-Thompson School District requires approximately $66 million to complete its most critical projects. However, the school district has only seen $10.7 million in capital funding in the last 16 years.

At 140 per cent capacity, Valleyview Secondary is considered the most critical project, and was an earlier stop on Fleming's Kamloops tour. 

"Look, the Kamloops-Thompson District is in a situation that a lot of districts are in right now," Fleming said. "They've had enrollment decline, they're now growing again. That's a tribute to Kamloops as a city, it's also a new situation for the ministry of education to try and address. I think the district has brought a number of items to my attention today, including their capital priority, which now places Valleyview Secondary, an expansion project there at the top of their priority list."

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