A 131-unit development proposed for North Clayton may put more pressure on crowded elementary schools in the area.

A 131-unit development proposed for North Clayton may put more pressure on crowded elementary schools in the area.

Pressure builds on schools

Opponents concerned a 131-unit development will only add to already overcrowded schools

Concerns are being raised over a mammoth housing project planned for Clayton, a 131-unit development being constructed right beside a school that hasn’t been finished yet.

And when Salish Secondary school near 73 Avenue and 184 Street is done, most believe it will be packed to the rafters with students.

On Monday, Surrey council will be considering a development proposal for 131 homes right across from the school.

That development will be constructed in 2018.

It’s just another development in a fast-growing city that hasn’t caught up with school infrastructure.

As part of the City of Surrey planning report, graphs show both elementary schools and secondary schools well over capacity.

Clayton Heights Secondary alone is about 400 students over capacity now, a figure that grows to about 600 by 2019.

Elementary schools in the area are currently more than 150 over capacity now and expected to be more than 250 over by 2019.

The city figures estimate there will be 68 more elementary students as part of this development and 34 secondary students.

Surrey Coun. Bruce Hayne has followed the development closely, and says his main concern is regarding elementary schools.

Hayne said the school district said it was fine with development occurring within the existing Neighbourhood Concept Plans, which this project is.

And he also realizes there is a new secondary school being built extremely close to the development.

“What it doesn’t address, and the questions that I have, are with respect to another elementary school in the area,” Hayne said.

He said he will want to speak with the school district in that regard before taking a stance on the project.

He noted that the development in and of itself is a good one, and that the developer worked well with the community.

“My only hesitation will be with respect to schools,” Hayne said.

Surrey School District officials feel the new Salish secondary school will be adequate for the current development in the area but details as to what programs will be offered and how that will affect enrolment at Lord Tweedsmuir and Clayton secondary schools is still to be determined.

“There’s still a public consultation process but we expect to have enough capacity there for whatever is decided,” said Surrey School District spokesperson Doug Strachan.

However Strachan believes although the new Clayton North Elementary is scheduled to open in the fall the 2019, numbers for elementary students in the Clayton area may be a different story.

“The rate of growth there is such that we’re not caught up and so I wouldn’t be surprised that the new elementary school is at capacity or over capacity by the time it’s occupied.”

On April 21, the Surrey Board of Education voted unanimously in favour of a motion asking the City of Surrey to “temporarily suspend all new development approvals in the Clayton, Grandview/South Surrey and Newton regions until the Surrey School District receives adequate provincial funding to support the growing numbers of students moving into these regions.”

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