Schools in B.C. still not earthquake proof


Progress Report – Seismic Mitigation Program – October 2015

A list of all the schools past, pressent, and in the future scheduled for seismic upgrading.


Planning for School Seismic Safety – December, 2008

Auditor General of British Columbia


Schools in B.C – January 31, 2011

Schools in B.C. still not earthquake proof

CBC reports that the Vancouver School Board is concerned that hundreds of its schools remain at risk from seismic events.

The B.C. government promised in 2005 to have 750 schools rebuilt to the seismic standards by 2020.  So far only 121 schools have been rebuilt or are in the process of being upgraded.


Note: The last reference in the article is dated 2007 otherwise the document is undated.

School Seismic Safety in British Columbia: A Grassroots Success Dr. Tracy Monk1

In October 2004, in response to the joint submission to government by FSSS and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists in British Columbia (APEG BC), British Columbia’s government completed an assessment of the 800 schools within British Columbia’s zone of high seismic risk. 311 were found to be at high risk of sustaining severe damage to structural elements in the event of a moderate to strong earthquake. The initial estimate, to address all structural and non-structural safety issues in British Columbia’s 800 schools within the zone of risk, was US$1.3 billion. Two days before the assessment results were made public, the Premier committed that money from provincial funds to ensure that all of British Columbia’s schools were brought up to acceptable seismic life safety standards within 15 years.

The price tag in British Columbia comes in around 2% of the province’s spending on education. This is in line with the theoretical estimate of cost for European countries, given by Spence (2004) of 2% of GDP spending on education to address school building seismic safety.

British Columbia’s school building annual capital budget has ranged historically between US$125 and US$585 million per year. Current spending levels have been around US$180-225 million per year. The seismic commitment adds another US$90 million per year for 15 years. The combined total is well within the traditional range of spending on school infrastructure, meaning that the cost of safety does not exceed previous expenditures on the capital budget for schools and is within normal parameters of basic infrastructure maintenance.

At some level, the calculations carried out in this manner seem to help engineers and emergency planners realize that they are not being ―sentimental‖ by making the lives of children a priority, but are acting on principals that are somehow ―objectively validated‖ by equations. Adopting a public health approach to the problem that factors in human consequences, not just infrastructure impacts, enables decision makers to return to basic social principles which are frequently forgotten in today’s political climate:

• Children are at the top of the public safety agenda.

• The two basic human rights of children to education and to safety must not compete for the same funds.

At the end of the day, we do not need equations or calculations of cost effectiveness to tell us what our guts already know and what evolution has wired us to feel: there is no greater treasure to a society than its children.







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