1. What is the City’s role in the project?
The City is responsible for Eagle Mountain Park. The City and the School District are negotiating a “joint use agreement” for the use of the field by the school district and for the use of the school by the community. This agreement may include access to new park features or access to school amenities (outside school hours) that the community has indicated would be valuable to the area.
2. What is the School District’s role in the project?
The School District is responsible for the design and construction of the new school in accordance with Ministry of Education guidelines, including the project budget. The school naming process, confirmation of catchment areas and the school opening are additional steps that will occur later in the process. The School District requires outdoor play areas for students and the Joint Use Agreement with the City will provide students access to the park for their learning needs.
3. Will I still be able to use the park during school hours?
The existing playground and sports courts will remain available for community use during school hours. For the safety of students, the field will be closed during school hours so that the school can use the field for school programming.
4.What will be done for traffic control on Eagle Mountain Road?
Once the school is open there will be typical school traffic which involves increased traffic for about 15 minutes prior to the start of classes and about 15 minutes at the end of classes. A number of students will be able to walk and a number may arrive and depart on school buses which will potentially reduce the vehicle traffic. There will be a drop-off loop on the school site so drop-off and pick-up can occur on the school site. There will also be on-site parking for staff and visitors.
The school zone will be well defined with signage and the reduced speed limit will be posted and enforced. A raised crosswalk will be installed on Eagle Mountain Drive at Goodbrand Drive to increase visibility of pedestrians crossing the street and as a traffic calming measure.
Both Transportation and Traffic Impact Assessments are being done. These studies will help address traffic calming in the neighbourhood.
5. How are new schools planned for?
The City shares development applications for new housing projects, the Official Community Plan and Plan 200K with the School District. This information helps the School District with their planning to ensure that there are enough spaces for current and future students. The School District’s Long Range Facilities Plan outlines the planning that is undertaken in considering the overall facility needs for the school district.
6. Why the Eagle Mountain Location?
There is currently a shortage of space at Mountain Elementary and at surrounding elementary schools (See Table below). Extensive development of new homes will continue in the area, including at the top of Eagle Mountain, the Vicarro Ranch Development, the Marshall Road connection between Whatcom and Old Yale Road, Timberlane Drive, and Florence Drive. Future new neighbourhoods in the McKee Peaks Planning Area, north east of the Eagle Mountain site will create the need for more schools in the longer term.
The new elementary school on Eagle Mountain will provide an additional 460 spaces to serve catchment families and alleviate pressures at surrounding schools. The district has requested funding for additions to Margaret Stenersen and Auguston Elementary in its 2020/21 Capital Plan. The Prince Charles and McMillan sites will not accommodate a building addition.
7. What accessibility features will the new school have?
The school will be fully accessible with automatic main door openers, an elevator, accessible washrooms and exterior hard surface play areas and rubberized surfaces for access to outside play equipment.
8. What will be done regarding security surveillance and monitoring of the park and school areas?
The school and city park site will have increased surveillance when the school is open as school staff will be in the building in the evenings on school days and will be able to report problems occurring on the site. In addition, the school will have video surveillance to discourage bad behavior after school hours and to identify those that do create problems. Security patrols are used at times if problems regularly occur at specific sites. If residents observe any illegal behaviour APD should be notified, other concerns can be reported on line by filling out a bylaw service request form on the City’s website: https://www.abbotsford.ca/city_hall/bylaws/bylaw_service_request.htm
9. Will there be additional parking on Goodbrand?
The school project budget is limited to work on the school and playfield area. There is a large staff and visitor parking area planned. This parking lot may be made available for park visitors outside of school hours.
10. Will there be additional lighting in the park?
At this point the school project does not have the budget to provide lighting for the playfield or park. The school building and the parking lot will have lights which may provide increased visibility on the adjacent play areas into the evening. As the design progresses the opportunity for adding additional lighting will be reviewed.
11. What is going to happen to the two memorial park benches that have been installed at Eagle Mountain?
There will be a place to retain them on the site if that is the family’s preference.
12. Where will the construction vehicles park?
Because of the constrained nature of the site there will need to be a combination of on-site parking and on street parking. The access and parking plan will be developed as part of the approval process with the School District and the City. A communication protocol between the contractors and the residents will be established early in the project so issues can be resolved quickly and efficiently.
13. How are public schools in BC funded?
Municipalities collect school tax on behalf of the Province through residential property taxes. School taxes are set by the province, and are based on the number of residences and total residential assessed value in the district. The City sends all school taxes collected to the Province of BC. The Province then allocates the operating funding to School Districts according to the Ministry of Education’s annual budget process. The Ministry of Education also allocates funding for capital projects, including new schools, additions/renovations, seismic upgrades, etc. to School Districts. Approval for these projects is based on a comprehensive approval process.
14. What are the plans for Jewel Court?
The plan for the school is to retain the fence and trees along the edge of Jewel Court. The school is also set back from the property line by a number of feet. At the closest (near the Cul-de-sac on Jewel) the corner of the building will be 26’ from the property line. It then varies moving west all the way up to 67’ and then back down to 28’ at the west most corner. In addition, the ground elevation is being lowered by about 6 to 8 feet which will make the school less prominent on the site.