Re: “Saved by the seismic bell,” Feature, Oct. 14.
As a grandparent whose grandson for the past six years has attended two different elementary schools in Richmond, I have followed with great interest the recent, and belated, pre-election, letter from the three Liberal MLA’s — Teresa Wat, Linda Reid and John Yapp — on the fact that just three of Richmond’s 48 schools have, to date, been seismically upgraded.
Richmond, because of its geographic location on a delta, is known to be at high risk in an earthquake. The fact that the district hasn’t had a school upgraded since 2011 is nothing short of disgraceful. And Victoria’s absurd 95 per cent capacity demand, before it was withdrawn, was at the root of this unfair and unacceptable situation.
The three Richmond Liberal MLA’s have acted now only because of the growing parental revolt and thus their new-found promise for action has a hollow ring to it.
But seismic upgrading is not the only serious shortcoming in this district.
Going back more than a decade, Richmond was one of the province’s top districts in providing English-as-a-second language programs, services and supports to ESL students, be they refugees, immigrants or non-English-speaking families. Richmond was, at that time, a beacon for other districts.
Thanks to the BC Liberals’ ongoing assault on our K-12 public schools, Richmond’s once highly-regarded ESL program is now but a shadow of its former self. If you are in doubt about this, read the district’s former ESL co-ordinator’s report on the detailed cutbacks and the disappearance of key language programs.
The prolonged silence from Yap, Reid and Wat on language issues and overall cuts in Richmond schools is shamefully deafening.
It’s time to send strong and active electoral representatives from Richmond to Victoria in May of next year.
Noel Herron is a former Vancouver school trustee and is currently the grandparent of a Richmond elementary student