A private high school will stay put in its Coquitlam location for three more years.
On Monday (July 5), council extended the temporary use permit for the BC Christian Academy (BCCA) to continue in the old cop shop building at 3000 Christmas Way.
The academy has already been at the site for three years with the hope of getting its new high school built, principal Ian Jarvie told council during a public input session.
Last June, it sealed a $16.2-million deal with School District 43 (SD43) to buy the former Lincoln Elementary building in Port Coquitlam, after previously leasing the building for a dozen years for Christian-based teaching to pre-K to 12 students.
Lincoln Elementary was closed several years ago due to declining enrolment.
Jarvie said BCCA is aiming to break ground next summer on the Fernwood Avenue property.
Asked about the school at 3000 Christmas Way, which is located a block away from the homeless shelter — a topic that came up when BCCA first sought a permit — Coquitlam planners said there have been no concerns from businesses or the community.
In fact, Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam’s general manager of planning and development, said city staff have received two letters of support for BCCA to keep using the building.
“They’ve been a good addition to the neighbourhood,” said Coun. Dennis Marsden, who said he was skeptical when the original permit request came forward in 2018.
Mayor Richard Stewart said BCCA students are now getting lessons about equity and social inclusion.
“There’s some reality to having a high school in this setting,” he said.
Under the city’s updated City Centre Area Plan, which council endorsed last year, the Pinetree-Lougheed precinct is set to become a business district with new office buildings.
Council voted unanimously to extend the BCCA permit with Coun. Bonita Zarrillo recused from the decision due to a family member’s involvement with the school, she said.