What’s happening right now?

Bayview’s seismic upgrade is steadily progressing. The architects (Alvin Martin and Ayme Sharma from Francl Architecture) are finalizing designs for both the interior and exterior of our new school. The advisory committee (made up of parent, teacher, and after-school-care representatives, Ms. Biorn, school board staff, and architects) will be meeting in October to review the designs. The plans will be available for the entire school community to see later this fall.

The Seismic Project Office has already applied to the city for permits, and the swing site at Queen Elizabeth Elementary on 16th and Camosun is being prepared for our use. During construction, students will be bussed between the swing site and McBride Park on Waterloo Street.

According to the original schedule, our school was slated to move into the swing site in December 2019. The project manager believes we may be able to move in September 2019 instead, if things continue to progress smoothly. Teachers have been asked to begin sorting their materials for moving or storage. We are expected to be at Queen Elizabeth for 18 months.

During construction, our playground equipment will be moved into storage, with the exception of the silver monkey bars in the back playground, which are no longer considered safe.

While the province will fund our new building, it does not fund new contents. Our PAC will be fundraising for common-area furniture, projectors, area rugs, and more. If you can help with fundraising or have questions about the seismic upgrade, please email bayviewpac@gmail.com.

How long will the upgrade take?

Construction will take about 18 months.

We’d like to ensure the upgrade process goes smoothly and efficiently, so that our children are in a safe building as quickly as possible.


Is there other background info I should know?

Bayview Community School was built in 1914 and has significant historical value.

Unfortunately, Bayview’s age has led to both maintenance concerns (lead pipes, asbestos, outdated heating systems, etc.) and seismic concerns. The Province of BC Seismic Assessment Program in 2004 and the follow-up Vancouver School Board audit completed by Coriolis Consulting in 2011 both ranked Bayview at high risk of structural failure in the case of an earthquake.

These are schools that were built in Long Beach, California, at almost the same time as Bayview. Like Bayview, they were unreinforced brick buildings with inferior mortar. A five-second-long magnitude 6.25 earthquake struck Long Beach in March 1933.


What does the Seismic Committee Do?

We are working to ensure our upgrade proceeds as quickly as possible. Many projects have faced repeated delays, but we want Bayview students in a safe building soon.

Our committee also wants to ensure our upgraded school is built to high quality standards, offers significant space for future growth, and incorporates our traditions as a community school, host to preschools, out-of-school care, and several community organizations.

Finally, we want to make sure the voices of parents and teachers are clearly heard in the upgrade process.


Past Efforts

MLA David Eby raised the issue of Bayview’s seismic upgrade during the government debate on budget estimates in April 2016. Minister of Education Mike Bernier assured Mr. Eby that our upgrade was a government priority. You can watch their exchange here.

Bayview parents staged a “Not Safe to Shake” rally on May 7th, 2015. Trustees Christopher Richardson, Patti Bacchus, Mike Lombardi, Janet Fraser, and Penny Noble attended, along with opposition critic for education Rob Fleming. The rally was covered by The Georgia Straight and by Vancouver 24 Hours.

Many parents sent letters in February and March 2015 to Minister of Education Peter Fassbender, Premier Christy Clark, and VSB Chair Christopher Richardson, expressing our concerns about these delays. (Sample Letter)

You can read the responses here, received from VSB Chair Christopher Richardson and the Ministry of Education.

Bayview’s seismic needs were previously highlighted by several media outlets, including CBC and CTV.

In 2012, parents wrote letters en masse to both Christy Clark, our local MLA, and Don MacRae, then Minister of Education. We received a response from Don MacRae on November 8, 2012.

Minister of Education’s response letter – 2012-11-08

David Eby, the NDP candidate in our riding, toured the school on February 8, 2013. During the July 2013 budget debates, he also asked Minister of Education Peter Fassbender to expedite our upgrade and those of other Vancouver schools.

The Seismic Committee started a petition which has over 1200 signatures to date. Members also created a video tour of our school. The video has over 800 views and can be seen here.


What Can You Do?

If you’d like to join the Seismic Committee, or if you’re a parent with expertise in architecture, engineering, law, finance, or public relations, please e-mail bayviewpac@gmail.com.