Presentations to NVSD Meeting

There were a number of presentations to the NVSD board of trustees last night, and some of them included handouts for the trustees to review.

Troy Vassos: Concerns Regarding CLP Site Selection

Troy Vassos: NV Student Population Growth Summary

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School District Approves Funding for Balmoral Renovation

There was a huge turnout at the North Van school district tonight. Thank you to everyone who came out and filled the hallway and stairs. It’s a good thing the fire Marshall didn’t get wind of the meeting or we would have been in the rain for sure.

Sadly, my wife and I were a little late getting to the meeting and couldn’t find parking. So I was in the hall and couldn’t hear any of the impassioned presentations. Watch for the minutes on the nvsd website if you want to see what was said.

Ironically, Barry Forward presented a framework for community engagement, and there was an interesting discussion at exactly what that means. Too bad the new board is coming in with their renewed interest in community engagement after some of the decisions affecting out community.

The trustees heard a presentation from the architect, which enabled me to get a better look at the plan. Much of the building will be only lightly renovated, and the main work will take place around the front of the school. Creating the offices for community services in a segregated area so that it is accessible to the public without passing through academic areas of the school requires moving the cafeteria and the library. The major renovation is to the foyer, which will be opened up to create an open mixing space.

Because a seismic upgrade to the building would take all the funds., and indeed it would be almost as much as building a new school.  So, this renovation is not going to make the building safer for earthquakes.

The architect states that the school will require 32 parking spaces, while the community services will have 8 to 10. Note that the Delbrook CA has been indicating 200 spaces required for all three programs under consideration for Balmoral – CLP, Adult Educaton and Distance Learning. The architect estimates there are about 60 spaces on site, which must mean he is counting spaces beneath the portables or around the back. Apparently the district will require 45 spaces for the CLP.

On another slide we got a glimpse of the plans for the budget for adult education and distance learning. There was a line indicating 80 parking stalls. The total budget for non-CLP programs looks like about 1.1 million dollars. The budget for CLP is, of course, 2.5 million.

The renovations will begin with asbestos remediation in July 2012 (no estimate yet due to not having completed asbestos review, however much asbestos was removed in 2004). Construction is expected to complete in November. The architect recommends that the kids move in in January 2013.

The district figures that they could get funding from three sources:

  • There is 2.1 Million available from previous projects that the province may let us spend on this school.
  • The province gives us an Annual Facilities Grant every year that could be applied to paint and asbestos remediation.
  • The school district will seek a long term lease at some location.

The traffic study by Urban Systems has been under way for the past week. I believe it was Superintendent Lewis who stated that the school district would need to pay for any traffic calming.

Once the questions were done, and the first motion proposed, there was a lively discussion.  All of the trustees favor the CLP, but thanks to the room full of people, and the many emails they’ve received, they have heard the our call to slow down and wait for the outcome of the Community Advisory Working Group.  Superintendent Lewis characterized slowing down as a vote to continue to leave the parents and students of the alternate programs hanging.

The first vote, which would have approved all the funds was narrowly defeated.  The second motion,

that the Board of Education approves the expenditure of up to $250,000 of the $2.5 million estimated budget for the fees required to proceed with the schematic design, design development and working drawings for the renovations to Balmoral school to accommodate and support the Community Learning Program, and that the Secretary Treasurer report back to the Public Board meeting no later than May 2012 with a pre-tender estimate of the renovation costs and for final project approval.

 

that the Board of Education defers any further decisions regarding renovations to Balmoral School related to District Services and additional programs under consideration (Continuing/Adult Education and Joint Use/ Recreational) until the Community Advisory Working Group process has concluded.

Passed almost unanimously.

February 21st School Board Meeting to Vote on Renovation Funds

This post is based on the flyer that was delivered to many households in the past week.

Even before the Community Advisory Working Group completes their process, the school board is asking our trustees to approve a budget for up to $3 Million in renovations. We hope to convince the trustees to defer this decision until the community consultation process is complete.

We are asking the NVSD postpone the decision for many reasons, including:

  • On June 21, 2011 the NVSD estimated the costs for training, equipment and renovations would be $150,000 to $350,000. By November 15, 2011 the cost to renovate Balmoral had escalated to $2.5 million, and then up to $3.0 Million by January 10. The source of the required funds has not been determined.
  • There is a lack of information on what will be done to accommodate the student community support services.
  • Traffic studies are now finally underway but have not been completed, so there is no information on how the 500 or more students and hundreds of cars expected daily will affect Braemar and Andre Piolat students, local residents and Balmoral students themselves.
  • The decision to consolidate and relocate the alternate school programs resulted in the loss of the 130 Windsor House program students and $1 million in revenue.
  • NVSD made the decision to locate the CLP to Balmoral without community consultation, and was proposing to move the remaining Lucas Centre programs to Balmoral without full and open public consultation.
  • NVSD is looking at adding 250 or so adult learners to the 250 alternate program students, 50 staff, and undisclosed wrap‐around services without real consultation with the wider community.
  • Committing to architectural fees for design, drawings, contract specifications and tendering , and soliciting bids ‐ before the NVSD decides what programs will be housed at Balmoral, is putting the cart before the horse. It is a waste of design fees and is also unfair to contractors, as well as the community.
  • It is time for the new school board trustees to regain community trust with a transparent and inclusive process.  In the absence of specific information around the cost increases to the renovations anticipated, it is reasonable to assume that approving the renovation request now is – in reality – making a de‐facto decision on the programs that will be housed at Balmoral, prior to the results of any community input or consultation.

What can you do?

Come ! To the North Vancouver School District meeting.
7 pm ‐ Tuesday February 21 ‐ 721 Chesterfield Ave.
Email ! NVSD school board trustees with your concerns
Copy ! DelbrookCA@gmail.com your e‐mails to the trustees
Talk ! To friends and neighbors about the issues

Reverse the Trend

With every 1% drop in participation our school district loses $1.5 million. Participation is a controllable cause, it means some of our schools are not competitive. The community knows what it wants but we aren’t providing it. Why not develop a strategy to reverse these trends in areas where its happening?

When boundaries were lifted in 2002 we were vulnerable to competition but we didn’t respond until the community led the introduction of International Baccalaureate Program (IB) in 2008.

Given only a year, our student population immediately responded but was chased away again in 2009 with the threat of permanent closure by 2012

Carson/ Balmoral catchment is the only area where we have experienced this kind of decline

To support the location of the Community Learning Program, we were shown the following slide:

However, the reality is that most of the CLP students don’t live near the new location:

It’s possible to turn a school around

Capilano Elementary and Balmoral Secondary followed the same path but only Capilano was allowed to follow through
We don’t need to give up on our school, the kids are still here and more are coming with new growth

Engaging the community and offering the programs they want strengthens the NVSD budget and avoids community land sales, a permanent decision that can reduce quality of life

An Open Call

* The previous Board of Education made a major decision regarding the long term plans for Balmoral which greatly affected our community
* A majority of that board new they were not continuing on
* That decision should have been made by the new board
* We ask the new board, in the spirit of positive community consultation, work with us to make Balmoral the best it can be

To contact your local trustees, see the Contacts page

An Open Call for Consultation

For our community there are many programming changes proposed and we are optimistic that we can work together with the Board of Education to make those changes fit within the character of the neighbourhood.  We are aware of the time constraints that the Board are under with the budget deliberations this evening, but ask them to consider deferring passage in order to work with us to improve the future utilization of the Carson North (Balmoral)  facility.

In the last few days prior to the election, the previous Board of Education made a major decision regarding the long term plans for Carson Graham North which will greatly affect the neighbouring community.    We believe that decision should have been made by the new board, after the election, rather than the previous board, mid-election, where a majority of that board knew they would not be continuing on after the election.  We have no interest in revisiting all of the decisions of the previous board, but this one particular mid-election vote has us feeling like the normal level of consultation was not the top priority

In that spirit of positive community consultation, we invite the Board of Education to a dinner meeting with a few of our representatives in order to get a better mutual understanding of the impacts on our neighbourhood and the realities that the Board are facing.  Again, we understand the time constraints you are under, but hope that the Board are willing to work together with us to make Carson North the best it can be.

Background on William Griffin and Delbrook Recreation Centers

Posted by Rene Gourley from information provided by Kevin McCauley

Rumblings about William Griffin and Delbrook Recreation Centers began in 2007.  It seems that council have decided that the best course of action is to consolidate the two facilities at the William Griffin site and use the sale (“equity transfer?”) of the Delbrook site to pay for the new facility.  The most recent list of amenities at the expanded facility include the following:

included proposed
  • fitness area
  • gymnasium
  • arts and crafts studios
  • youth centre
  • seniors’ centre
  • dance and martial arts floor
  • pre-school program centre
  • mulit-purpose space
  • welcoming foyer
  • support spaces
  • A swimming pool
  • Administrative space
  • Community services
  • Racquetball/squash courts, and
  • Commercial revenue generating opportunities such as food services or professional health services appropriate for a community recreation centre

The new building is anticipated at 81,000 square feet.  However, in October and November 2011, consultants gathered input from stakeholders (existing users?) to review the core program spaces and confirm specific space requirements in order to proceed with detailed building design and costing.

This project has been included in the District’s capital plan. A draft program and space plan will be prepared for further review and public consultation in early 2012. The program and space plan will form the basis for detailed building design and costing.

Concerns

  • The new build for Griffin will be about $50M [plus?].  Most of this will come from our taxes.
  • Value of ‘equity transfer’ Delbrook $21.5M
  • A complete shock to over 30 neighbours in the immediate Delbrook/Griffin area in early November 2011. Exact same story as Balmoral; lack of community consultation.
  • Major changes to our immediate neighborhood; where is the planning?  The OCP is silent on this area, except to note that Queens and Delbrook are transit corridors.
  • What exactly will be developed on the Delbrook site?
  • Traffic and parking are already a problem at William Griffin.  How will this be addressed?

Resources

Posted by Rene Gourley

CLP Community Advisory Working Group Progress

The North Vancouver School District is using a Community Advisory Working Group (CAWG) to fulfill its community engagement requirements.  The CAWG consists of five members from community associations in the neighborhood (including Delbrook), and 15 other members representing various interested stakeholder groups, including four from NVSD and two trustees (see table below)

They met for the first time on January 30th, and the school district has posted the Presentation made by the school board as well as the Summary Notes.  They also posted the Summary of Input and Feedback from the January 10 public meeting.

Documents and resources pertaining to the North Vancouver School District’s Learning Centre (NVSDLC) and the Community Learning Program (CLP) are posted on the North Vancouver School District’s website at:

http://www.nvsd44.bc.ca/en/sitecore/content/Updates/CommunityLearningProgram.aspx

http://www.nvsd44.bc.ca/en/Programs/CommunityLearning/ResourceLinks.aspx

Posted by Rene Gourley