Editorial: We're waiting for the good news

Many press releases arrive in the in-box but not the one announcing seismic replacements for Irvine and Minnekhada

Stop, already!

We get that the BC Liberal government wants credit for spending money to maintain the province's schools. But it's time the province stop sending press releases about small pots of money that are being spent on things like roof repairs and flooring upgrades — work that should be going no matter who is in power and doesn't require the additional spotlight of media coverage.

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What really appears to be going on here is a full-out campaign to distract voters who might nod and congratulate the province on yet another round of boiler replacements when many schools needing seismic rebuilds are put on the back burner.

We can hear it already: Oh, those entitled parents, demanding earthquake-proof schools. Yet another special interest group seeking a government hand out.

But that's just not the case. In Port Coquitlam, two schools are on the list for replacement because they are considered at high risk — high risk — for structural failure in an earthquake.

Yet for some reason, they languish on the to-do list even though Irvine elementary was identified as early as 2012 as a priority school by the province while Minnekhada middle, which also needs to be rebuilt, has been waiting for years to get the go-ahead.

What's a Tri-City voter to think? We know what the BC NDP leader thinks. Last week John Horgan said the province is playing politics, suggesting PoCo schools aren't getting rebuilds because they are located in the riding of an NDP MLA, Mike Farnworth.

We don't think the province is playing favourites with child safety but as long ago as April 2015, when Farnworth brought up the issue in the B.C. legislature, he was told by Peter Fassbender, then the education minister, that the ministry had just received a final plan for the school.

Since then, nothing for Minnekhada, and Irvine parents are worried, too, that their school's seismic rebuild isn't getting the attention it needs.

So until the press releases announcing funds for those two schools have been released, all other news about minor repairs will go immediately to the trash.

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