Petition to stop SD43 from selling land
A Coquitlam parent has submitted a 1,450-name petition to the city to stop the school district from selling its land.
On Monday, after city council ended its regular meeting, Volodymyr Orlenko publicly presented the document to the city clerk as part of the municipality's public consultation for Parkland elementary school.
School District 43 has applied to the city to change the official community plan (OCP) for a portion of Parkland elementary at 1595 Regan Ave. SD43 wants the strip of land north of the playing fields, at the Como Lake Avenue and Poirier Street intersection, subdivided into eight lots.
If the OCP is amended, it is estimated the land sale would bring in up to $5 million — money SD43 needs to for future projects such as the replacement of Banting middle school and a new elementary school on Burke Mountain.
The city's public consultation for the proposal, which started Feb. 18 and ends on Monday, has generated about half a dozen submissions, said Lauren Hewson, Coquitlam's information, privacy and administrative services manager. And those submissions will be reviewed by city staff and SD43 before the bid formally goes to city council for first reading, Hewson said.
Orlenko, who has a son at Porter elementary and a daughter at Banting middle, said he and volunteers started circulating the petition last October — a week before school trustees voted against selling off some of Porter's property.
The petition, of which a quarter of the names are from Coquitlam residents, calls for "the mayor and council of Coquitlam to oppose the plan to sell parts of school lands in School District 43."
Though it specifies Porter and Parkland, Orlenko stressed the petition applies to all school district land assets.
Of the Porter decision, Orlenko said: "They simply wanted to appease the public and make us shut up but we believe it will come back in the future.... They're just testing the waters right now."
Last November, after trustees unanimously voted to proceed with the Parkland application, board chair Melissa Hyndes told The Tri-City News that Parkland is a good "test site" for the land disposal process because it's not being used. Developing the property for housing could improve safety and security for students because a lane will be put in, she said.
– with files from Diane Strandberg