The Vancouver School Board has informed Vancouver DPAC of a proposal made by BC Hydro to build two new underground power substations and decommission older power substations in the downtown area. One of the proposed locations for a new substation is the current location of Lord Roberts Annex. In consideration for allowing the new substation to be built there, BC Hydro has proposed to fund the construction of a school at Coal Harbour with a suggested capacity of 300 students. The Coal Harbour school would be completed in 2020, at which time Lord Roberts Annex would be closed and the catchment boundaries would be redrawn to reflect the dual changes. Following the closure of Lord Roberts Annex, construction would begin on the new substation. Upon its completion, a new school would also be funded by BC Hydro and constructed above ground on the same site. This new school would be completed in 2025 with a suggested capacity of 500 students.
The benefit of this plan is the guaranteed financing of two new primary schools in the downtown area resulting in increased enrollment capacity.
Possible concerns include the disruption of having the catchment boundaries changed frequently, potential health and safety risks of a school built over an underground substation, and whether accepting funding from another entity (whether public or private) is acceptable.
To learn more about the project, see BC Hydro's website at https://www.bchydro.com/energy-in-bc/seed.html.
Vancouver DPAC welcomes feedback from all parents on this issue.