If approved, residents of Silver Valley could have a new school by 2028.
The possibility of a new school in Silver Valley was outlined in the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District’s Draft Strategic Facilities Plan that was released at the end of January.
The draft plan was drawn up in consultation with local First Nations, the Métis community, urban Indigenous organizations, education partners, post-secondary institutions, stakeholders, people with diverse lived experiences, the public, and the two municipalities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
In the plan, the district states they have identified a new school location and that the property could support a new school with an operating capacity of 635. However, the acquisition and the development of the site have yet to be approved.
School board chair Korleen Carreras said the acquisition of property in Silver Valley has been an item on the board’s annual capital plan submission to the Ministry of Education for the past few years.
“We have not received approval for the purchase at this time,” she remarked, noting that she believes they have a strong case for a school.
If the land were acquired in 2022, the earliest a school would open up on the site is 2028.
However, she said it will ultimately be up to the Ministry of Education to rank and prioritize for funding the submissions they receive from all school districts in the province.
Carreras advised that it takes approximately three to six years to build an elementary school once approval from ministry is received.
In the report, it was noted that the populations in both the City of Maple Ridge and the City of Pitt Meadows have in grown over two decades – 39 per cent in Maple Ridge and 29 per cent in Pitt Meadows.
Silver Valley is one of the main residential areas for development and growth – along with Albion, Town Centre, and the Lougheed Corridor.
Within the next 10 years, 1,362 new units are expected to be built in Silver Valley, 40 per cent of them anticipated to be single family or duplexes and 60 per cent multi-family townhomes.
The school board will be joining with the City of Maple Ridge to purchase the new site, “which will allow for joint development of the site in the future.”
The board noted in the draft plan that there is no requirement for a new secondary school location in this zone for the foreseeable future.
The Strategic Facilities Plan is in its final stage of consultation.
SD42 is now looking for feedback on the plan and are collecting input through a survey that will be open until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15.
To complete the survey go to letstalksd42.ca/facilities-of-the-future.
The new Strategic Facilities Plan is expected to be adopted in March 2022.