School closures: it’s time for VSB staff to explain why enrolment will fall as family units, density rise


Graham Bruce is just one school threatened with closure where population is growing.

Now that provincial education minister Mike Bernier has suddenly eliminated the 95 percent capacity requirement from the school funding debate, it’s time to challenge Vancouver School Board’s claim that enrolment will stagnate or fall in neighbourhoods where density is rising.

That contradiction is painfully clear in the case of Graham Bruce Elementary in Joyce-Collingwood, where literally hundreds of new units, including two- and three-bedroom units, are under construction or already approved.

No wonder Vision Vancouver trustees Mike Lombardi, Patti Bacchus, Joy Alexander and Allan Wong are tabling a motion at Monday’s school board meeting requiring VSB staff to reconcile their numbers with Vancouver city staff.

As a compelling brief by Graham Bruce parents points out, the VSB “actually asserts a declining enrolling student population in the catchment” although the city has just approved a plan for the area around Joyce Collingwood Skytrain station that will ultimately see “six new 30-storey high rise apartments, six new 15-storey mid-size apartments, new social housing, plus numerous four to six-storey apartments and the rezoning of entire city blocks for townhouses and duplexes.”

The brief includes an analysis of probable enrolment growth by Urban Futures, a consulting firm retained by NDP MLA Adrian Dix. (A similar report on Gladstone Secondary with testimonials from parents is here.)

Until the VSB numbers add up, it’s hard to understand how any school closure could be considered.