Green Party of Vancouver Trustee Statement on Queen Elizabeth Annex Relocation

VANCOUVER, B.C. – On Monday, June 6, 2022, Vancouver School Board (VSB) Trustees voted 6-3 to relocate the French Immersion program at Queen Elizabeth Annex (QEA) to a new location starting in September 2023.

The Queen Elizabeth Annex school currently delivers the French Immersion choice program to 71 students in kindergarten to grade three. The entire program, including all students and teaching staff, will be moved to one of two possible schools within a few blocks of the Annex: the Queen Elizabeth main school or Jules Quesnel Elementary School, where students in the program transition to once they reach grade four.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to move this program,” said Green Trustee and Board Chair Janet Fraser, “but we need to consider the needs of all the students in the district.”

In 2019, the Minister of Education, Rob Fleming, contacted the VSB asking them to approve the closure of QEA, and make the site available to the province-wide francophone school district, the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (CSF). In return, the Province would agree to fund the promised and much-needed elementary school planned in Olympic Village. 

“The Province has made it clear that they will not build the Olympic Village elementary school unless we make this site available to CSF,” said Trustee Lois Chan-Pedley. “We have offered other locations in the area but the CSF are only interested in the QEA site.”

“The needs of current students and the future of the new school are dependent on this decision,” said Chan-Pedley.  “The bottom line is schools in the Olympic Village area are severely over capacity with many underserved students and families, and there’s even more density on the way. Meanwhile there are plenty of spaces and room to grow in schools near QEA."

When the QEA issue came up in 2019, the VSB voted to delay the decision until their long range facilities plan (LRFP) was complete so they could make long term decisions fully informed of the challenges and opportunities across the district.

“Our long range plan identified opportunities to move the entire QEA French Immersion program to one of two nearby schools that are currently under capacity,” stated Green Trustee Estrellita Gonzalez. 

“I’m hopeful that we can go a step further and expand the program at one of the schools, as Queen Elizabeth Elementary has the room to accommodate all QEA students and possibly add more French Immersion spaces.”

In 2022 the Provincial Government amended the School Act to enable it to transfer land that is owned by a school board to a francophone education authority.

“For Green Trustees, a long term lease to the CSF would be the only acceptable option,” explained Gonzalez. “We are fully committed to the VSB policy of maintaining or increasing our current number of school sites and preserving them for current and future use. If we want a say in what happens with the QEA land we need to be proactive and move now before the Province steps in and takes the site from us.

“The Province has forced a difficult decision on us but at the end of the day this is about equity — we need to provide the best we can for all the students across the city. Moving this program allows us to maintain the French Immersion Program and finally get funding for the Olympic Village location, where families are in dire need of a local school."

The NDP promised to fast-track the Olympic Village school construction during the 2020 election but there has yet to be any progress made. In fact, the Ministry of Education and Child Care has not approved any major capital projects (new schools, expansions or seismic projects) in the district in three years.



Bill 22 – 2022: School Amendment Act, 2022

Policy 20 Disposal of Land or Improvements 

VSB letter to Minister of Education re Capital Funding - May 27, 2022

NDP promises to fast-track Olympic Village school construction