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The six schools needed for the Tri-Cities over next decade

The cost for school land in Coquitlam City Centre is up 32% from last year, staff say.
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SD43 says it needs 27 acres to build six new schools, including five in Coquitlam and one in Port Moody.

As students return to school next Tuesday, Sept. 5, officials with School District 43 (SD43) are looking for land to build six more schools over the next decade to meet demand.

According to a report that went before Coquitlam city council last month, the school district needs a total of 27 acres for five sites in Coquitlam and one in Port Moody.

The properties are expected to be bought within the next five years for about $192.7 million, states the 2023 Eligible School Sites resolution passed by the board in June.

In Coquitlam, the school district has identified the following schools that are needed, of which three are on Burke Mountain, one in Fraser Mills and one in the City Centre:

  • Marigold Elementary (1350 Pollard Ave.)
    • According to a report from Andrew Merrill, Coquitlam's general manager of planning and development, SD43 has now secured its land through agreements with the municipality and Wesbild, a major developer in Northeast Coquitlam; the site will be transferred to the school district once the site servicing is complete.
  • Riverwalk Elementary
    • A school need in this undeveloped neighbourhood, close to the Coquitlam River and north of David Avenue, was designated in the Official Community Plan in 2001; however, the location and timing of the school are undetermined as the city plans Riverwalk — the third phase in the city’s Northwest Burke Vision plan.
  • Hazel–Coy Elementary
    • The city and SD43 continue to talk about a school site in the semi-rural neighbourhood — the first phase in the city's Northwest Burke Vision.
  • Fraser Mills Elementary
    • With Beedie Living starting construction on its southwestern parcel off United Boulevard, the school district is eyeing a three-acre site for an "urban school" that will fit into the city’s Waterfront Village Centre Neighbourhood Plan.
  • Coquitlam City Centre Elementary
    • Similar to the compact urban school model that will be used at Fraser Mills, a three-acre school site is sought for the city’s downtown core that will fit into the City Centre Area Plan — a blueprint adopted by city council in 2020 that will see about 25,000 more residents in the neighbourhood over the next 25 years.

In passing the annual Ten-Year Eligible School Sites (ESS) proposal for 2023–2033, Coquitlam Coun. Dennis Marsden called on the provincial government to hurry up with school construction in the district.

"I have a dream that, one day, we'll have a school that doesn't need portables right away," he told council on July 17.

"I don't know if that will come to fruition, but one can hope."

The ESS proposal, which — under the Local Government Act — municipal councils must accept or reject within 60 days of receipt, is based on housing projections provided to the school district, as well as an estimate of the number of students who will living in the new homes.

Coquitlam provides a 10-year housing forecast to the school district each year that’s based on growth projections from Metro Vancouver, a review of the city's current development application data and a breakdown of development trends.

In his July 10 report, Merrill wrote that the estimated land costs for the Marigold, Hazel–Coy and Riverwalk sites have shot up 25 per cent over the past year, and 32 per cent for a City Centre property.

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