Posts Tagged "tonight"


School board to vote tonight on fate of French immersion at Kitsilano school

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The fate of the French immersion program at Henry Hudson Elementary School will be decided at a Vancouver School Board meeting tonight. 

Trustees will vote on a motion to phase out the program, which would make this year’s kindergarten class the last to accept enrolment.

Many parents are worried about losing the French immersion program. 

“It’s been very stressful for families and our children,” said Josh Paterson, a parent on the school’s advisory council. 

“Some parents have had to think carefully about whether or not they should be looking at other schools, which threatens the existing program here and creates a stress in their life,” Paterson said.

Parent Josh Paterson said the kids at Hudson don’t want to be torn from their school or lose their French immersion program. (Radio-Canada)

The phase-out was one of several options recommended in a recent report to deal with the school being over capacity. There is not enough classroom space to accommodate the English program as well as French immersion. 

There are many families that get turned away every year.– Glyn Lewis, Canadian Parents for French

Adrian Keough, director of instruction for the VSB, said under the School Act of B.C., the board must provide education in English as a priority.

“We’re are at a point now where we cannot continue to enrol French immersion, and accept all of the English students who want to take the English program in that school,” Keough said. 

“We’ve taken away the staff room, we’ve taken away computer rooms, we’ve added portables. All trying to mitigate the situation,” he said. 

Keough said the school board remains committed to French immersion and added about 100 seats across the district last year. 

High demand for French immersion

Glyn Lewis, B.C.’s executive director of Canadian Parents for French, said accessibility of French immersion is already a major issue, especially in downtown Vancouver and Kitsilano.

“To cut a French immersion program in a neighbourhood, in a part of the city where there’s already very long wait lists, makes no sense,” Lewis said. 

“There are many families that get turned away every year,” he said. 

Originally, the report recommended moving the seats to Lord Strathcona Elementary School in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. 

However, feedback indicated that “very few” parents at Hudson would choose to enrol their children at Strathcona as an alternative due to an additional 25 to 35 minute commute.

Parent Joanne Garrie hopes her youngest daughter will be able to attend French immersion at Henry Hudson school, alongside her two older daughters. (Radio-Canada)

Joanne Garrie has two daughters who attend Hudson in French immersion. She hopes her youngest daughter can do the same. 

She said providing a place to learn French is important to her and her family, and they’ve built their community around the program and it’s current location. 

“My daughter, who started French in Grade 1, she says, ‘I found my passion, this is where I love learning is in French.’ I can’t take that away from her now. That would be very destructive,” Garrie said.  

The school board meeting begins at 7 p.m. PT. 

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MEDICINE MATTERS: Gala tonight for the “New St. Paul’s Hospital” – even before it’s officially approved

by admin

Artist’s concept of the new St. Paul’s Hospital.


The B.C. government hasn’t yet announced cabinet and Treasury Board approval for the St. Paul’s Hospital redevelopment plan.

But that hasn’t stopped donations from pouring in.

Tomorrow morning, the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation is set to announce – at the Sheraton Wall Centre – a sizeable donation for the new hospital that is expected to open in 2024 on the False Creek flats.

Nor has the lack of government approval precluded tonight’s invitation-only gala for “the new St. Paul’s.”

Red invitations like the one you see in this post have been sent to past and future donors.

The email invitation to the event at the Rocky Mountaineer was a bit of a surprise given the lack of government approval but I’m told this is not unusual for hospital fundraisers.

They need to get philanthropists on board long before governments issue press releases. And despite a $75 million pledge from Jimmy Pattison for the new hospital campus that will bear his name, the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation has plenty of fundraising to do since the project will likely cost well over $1 billion.

Conceptual drawing for new St. Paul’s Hospital campus.

A ministry of health spokeswoman said the government has nothing to announce on St. Paul’s yet so it regards the gala as a routine fundraising event.

(In 2012, the former Liberal government committed to funding of $500 million for the hospital redevelopment; I’m assuming that amount will have to increase substantially given the passage of time and increase in construction costs).

We can safely assume that financial institutions will have no hesitation granting construction loans since, apart from the fact taxpayers underwriting this massive project, the current site of the hospital on Burrard Street is expected to yield hundreds of millions of dollars when the hospital is torn down and the land sold off to developers.

The fact the government hasn’t announced its approval of the business plan hasn’t stopped the City of Vancouver rezoning process. Expect that process to take at least a year.

The new St. Paul’s Hospital campus rezoning concept envisions multiple buildings. IBI Group has submitted the application for the 18.5 acre site. It includes the new hospital, retail/commercial space, research facilities, professional offices childcare facilities and a hotel.

Community engagement is occurring now. It’s not clear how long the public engagement process will take before hearings on the applications to rezone the False Creek flats site from industrial to mixed use.

But it’s imperative civic politicians take into account the need for affordable housing close to the hospital since nurses and other healthcare providers are struggling to live in Vancouver, even with their solid salaries and incomes.

Indeed, I’m repeatedly hearing that nursing vacancies are becoming increasingly difficult to fill because of the housing affordability crisis.

A new hospital must be accompanied by affordable housing for the people who will work in it. The Jim Pattison Medical Centre, as it will be called, should have a residential component either on the campus or directly on the outskirts.

Read more about the challenges of the new site and a historical timeline here.


Follow me on Twitter: @MedicineMatters



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