Surrey’s Salish Secondary when it was under construction. (File photo: Sam Anderson)

Developers should pay more to help buy land for new schools, B.C. trustee says

Surrey trustee says ‘developers are getting off scott-free,’ province urged to review school acquisition fee

The Surrey Board of Education is officially asking B.C.’s education minister to review the amount of money developers are required to pay in School Site Acquisition Charges.

These are fees developers pay that are used to help pay for land to build new schools on.

Trustee Terry Allen said the fees haven’t changed since 2000.

“The developers are getting off scott-free,” he said. “If you really want to make change, maybe it would slow down development if they were having to pay a fair amount for school boards to acquire land to put children in classrooms.”

SQUEEZING SURREY STUDENTS IN: The causes and impacts of overcrowding in city schools

Allen, who is the chair of the budget committee, said that this year, just $1.7 million has been raised through the fund.

“But in the five-year capital plan we’re asking the ministry for $20.7 million in land. I just that there and thought, ‘These figures don’t jive.’ This is bizarre,” he said. “As a school board, we think it’s time to become proactive. We’re the largest school district in the province. It’s time to make a change. It’s time to make developers pay fair value for the land, for the development of schools.

“This is wrong – totally wrong – that people can develop land without any consequences as to where we’re going to put children in school,” he added. “If they start to open up areas in Port Kells, where are we going to build? The cost of land now is out of reality. We’re trying to buy land all the time at a reasonable price and we can’t get it.”

READ ALSO: ‘Not much has changed’: Why overcrowding in Surrey schools has persisted for decades

SEE MORE: Surrey Schools Coalition urges province to set up growth fund to pay for portables

At its Sept. 11 meeting, Surrey Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution tabled by Allen asking Education Minister Rob Fleming to review the School Site Acquisition Charge assessed on new developments.

Under Bill 35, the Local Government Act and the School Act require that the Ministry of Education, school boards and local governments work together in planning for new schools and in administering development charges to assist in funding new school sites.

The Now-Leader has requested comment from the Ministry of Education.

SEE ALSO: How teens grapple with growth at Surrey’s most crowded high school

READ ALSO: Why school portables are a ‘way of life’ in Surrey



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: a jump in turnout for Mayor’s Charitable Gala fundraiser in Langley

New venue for the second year of the joint event with the firefighters charity

Giants trade Jadon Joseph

Forward leaves Langley-based team for Moose Jaw

VIDEO: Provincial slow-pitch championships underway in Langley

More than 600 players and 58 teams from all across B.C. are playing

Artist’s landscapes and botanical oil paintings come to Fort Langley

Ray Ophoff’s Exhibition of New Works will be on display at Fort Gallery, Sept. 25 to 29

Rain gardens a trash-filled hazard, says Langley resident

Locals asked Township council to remove the environmental features

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Vancouver’s Tristan Connelly shocks the UFC world

Late replacement upsets big favourite Pereira, main event sees Gaethje stop Cerrone in round one

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

B.C. company gets licence to test psychedelic drugs for therapy treatment

Salvation Botanicals interested in manufacturing, testing and research and development

B.C. police watchdog to investigate man’s head injury during RCMP arrest

Suspect fled on a bicycle and fell off when an officer attempted to stop him

‘A real shame’: B.C. MLA says factors behind Tolko mill closing should have been caught

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson said the industry is in bad shape across the province

Most Read