What’s happening right now?

Bayview students have started the new school year at the swing site/portables located at Queen Elizabeth Elementary on Camosun and 16th Avenue. Students are bussed between McBride Park (5th Avenue and Collingwood Street) and Queen Elizabeth Elementary in the morning and afternoon, and are either on bus 1, 2 or 3.

Our playground equipment has been moved into storage for the duration of construction, with the exception of the silver monkey bars in the back playground, which are no longer considered safe. Safety fencing around trees has been set up to protect them during construction.

Right now the project is in the tender awarding stage. They have narrowed down the contractors and will award the project soon. Kent Grier of the Vancouver Project Office estimates construction to start mid March. Meaning they will have to prep the site, and start the abatement process. It being an old building with hazardous materials like asbestos, the abatement part may take quite a while before demolition of the building and new construction will occur.

The VSB Material Services department will continue to salvage items for the new Bayview building such as brass coat hooks from student cubbies and hand rails from the 1929 building.

While the province will fund our new building, it does not fund new contents. Meaning most classroom furniture for the new school will be the same furniture teachers used in the old building and moved to the portables. Our PAC will be fundraising for common-area furniture, projectors, area rugs, playground equipment and more. If you can help with fundraising or have questions about the seismic upgrade, please contact bayviewpac@gmail.com.

We will share more updates once available.

How long will the upgrade take?

Construction will take 18 to 24 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.  The new school is slated to be open for occupancy in September 2021.

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Unfortunately, Bayview’s age has led to both maintenance concerns (lead pipes, asbestos, outdated heating systems, etc.)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.

We are also committed to making sure that the voices of parents, teachers and staff are clearly heard in the upgrade process.

Over the last decade, our committee has worked tirelessly to ensure the new school will be built to high quality standards, offer significant space for future growth, and incorporate our traditions as a community school, such as hosting preschools, out-of-school care, and several community organizations.

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.