Brent Toderian connects the dots between school closures and neighbourhood density. Interesting that Vancouver and Richmond with the greatest amount of empty homes in the region are facing the most school closures while in Surrey and the Valley its the complete opposite as family desperately seek affordability. My friend in South Surrey tells of Kindergarten classes consisting of 50 to 60 children..
Another issue, according to former Vancouver city planner Brent Toderian, is that there is often only one type of housing in some elementary school catchments.
That means empty-nesters can’t downsize within their neighbourhoods, and so “hang on with their fingernails” to a home that could welcome a new family, he said.
“One of the many reasons we want to introduce new housing types is to facilitate the return of children. If we don’t, we find the schools are under threat of closure,” he said.
Usually, it’s a city’s downtown that is bereft of children. But Vancouver’s downtown has seen a surge of children so significant that downtown schools are full, and nearby schools like Henry Hudson Elementary and Simon Fraser Elementary are absorbing the spillover.
Elsie Roy Elementary in Yaletown is 10 per cent oversubscribed, while Henry Hudson Elementary is 19 per cent over capacity and Mount Pleasant’s Simon Fraser Elementary is 39 per cent over capacity, according to records.
“You provide the amenities like day care and schools and families with children come and stay in urban places. It’s ironic that some of our urban places are growing and some of our single family areas that are depopulating,” said Toderian.’