The cost of BC school repairs is mounting
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Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Good Morning Reader!
I never cared to get cable after moving out of my parents house, and my husband and I still didn’t bother after getting married. Instead, we opted for a Netflix subscription and that was enough. But since then, we’ve signed up for two others. Every network seems to have a streaming service now and I can’t keep up anymore. Now when someone recommends a show/movie, you also need to ask where to find it—and lately it usually only seems to be on the one service you don’t subscribe to. I’m starting to think it makes more financial sense just to get cable. But I’m still happy without it.
—Joti Grewal, reporter

Today’s weather: 🌧 12 C
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École La Vérendrye in Chilliwack (top) and École des Deux-rives (bottom) need to be updated to better serve Francophone students, according to a court ruling. 📸 Google Street View
A court ruling on school conditions expected to cost the province $1 billion  

Two years after the Supreme Court declared that Abbotsford required a new French-only school and Chilliwack needed a much better one, the province is taking the first steps to make that happen—eventually.

But adding and improving facilities in the Fraser Valley and across BC could cost well over $1 billion, significantly adding to the province’s massive and growing school building bill (which we reported on in March here).

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees Francophone parents the right to have their children educated in French-language schools. (The schools are different from French Immersion schools, which aim to provide schooling to non-native speakers.)

But many such French-language schools, including one in Chilliwack, provide worse schooling than those of their English-language counterparts, the Supreme Court declared in 2020. Those schools need to be better, while others deserve a school they don’t already have, the court ruled.

Today, Tyler writes about the court’s decision, what it means for Fraser Valley Francophones, and the cost to a province already failing to keep up with a mounting school repair bill.

Missed yesterday’s story? Find it here: Inside an alpaca barbershop
Need to Know
🏠 For the first time, the PNE prize home will be located in Langley [Langley Advance Times]

🚔 Homicide detectives were called to an Abbotsford home to investigate two suspicious deaths [CTV]

😔 A display to honour residential school survivors was vandalized at a Chilliwack school [Chilliwack Progress]

🎬 A stretch of road in downtown Hope will be closed this week during the filming of a car commercial [Hope Standard]

🏈 A Chilliwack athlete has been drafted into the CFL [Chilliwack Progress]

☺ TODAY’S SMILE: Elementary kids in Agassiz are all smiles just hanging around on the playground [Agassiz Christian Elementary]

Together With TELUS
The digital divide is keeping billions from Canada’s economy
Policies have made the digital divide in Canada worse, leaving far too many communities without reliable connectivity. Now, Canada is getting set for the next wave of 5G policy decisions.

Fortunately, wireless policies that maximize 5G innovation and connectivity are on the table right now.

The right policies can supercharge 5G innovation, creating better access to education and healthcare, and connect rural and Indigenous communities to the bustling digital economy. They could also add $40B to Canada’s GDP by 2040.

It's time to take action - add your support for 5G innovation.

A first look at a rendering of the proposed 203 Street Station for the Surrey-Langley Skytrain extension. 📸 BC Transportation/Flickr
The Agenda
The province has unveiled the first look of the entire Surrey-Langley Skytrain extension and is now asking the public for feedback. There will be two open houses to learn more about the project—on May 25 in Surrey and May 31 in Langley. Otherwise the public can submit their feedback online until June 9. The 16km-long extension will include eight new stations from the King George Station to Langley. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid 2024, with completion in late 2028. Once running, the Skytrain is expected to get travellers from Langley to Vancouver’s Waterfront Station in 65 minutes.

Chilliwack approved building permits for more than twice as many housing units in the first quarter of 2022 than it did during those same months five years ago. In the first three months of 2018, and again in 2019, Chilliwack approved building permits for roughly 200 units of residential housing. In 2022, that number was 430. That is the highest quarterly total in the last five years, as 2021 (the next highest year) saw only 265 units of housing approved. That doesn’t mean more building permit applications are being submitted, though. Rather, the density of building has increased. In the first three months of 2018, Chilliwack approved 217 building permits; in 2022, it was only 184.

Today's Partner
University of the Fraser Valley
Congratulations UFV Indigenous graduates of 2022!
Friends and families of more than 30 Indigenous UFV graduates gathered last week to celebrate at the Gathering Place on the Chilliwack campus at Canada Education Park.

Learn more about UFV’s Indigenization strategy.

Around Town
🏦 Accountants will teach kids about financial literacy by discussing what it takes to be a pet owner during a workshop hosted by the FVRL. The online event is on Saturday from 1 to 2pm.

🤠 Ho Down for Hope Central is happening this Friday from 7pm until midnight. The evening will feature live music, dancing, and an auction. More online.

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