Dear Ridgeway Elementary School Community,
Subject: Ridgeway Elementary parking
The North Vancouver School District appreciates the communications we have received regarding the addition of 14 new parking spaces at Ridgeway Elementary School. We value our parent communities and Parent Advisory Councils, and want to thank parents for the care they have for their school community.
Extra parking at Ridgeway Elementary School is mandated by the bylaw and permitting processes of the City of North Vancouver because of the additional classroom space added in 2017 as part of the modular building. Since the time of the modular installation, the North Vancouver School District has had a temporary occupancy permit that expires on November 30, 2018. To receive a permanent occupancy permit, City bylaws must be fully adhered to – including parking requirements. City bylaws call for 1.25 parking spaces for every teaching space on site; this is a regulation we follow for all of our schools within the City. At Ridgeway Elementary, the parking bylaw requirement amounts to 14 new parking spaces that must be added as a result of the new modular. Under bylaw, street parking cannot be used to meet this requirement.
To meet the bylaw requirement for more parking, the School District considered many options. Options considered included parking on the Quinn Basketball Court, removing tennis courts and utilizing blacktop as parking stalls, and removing part of the southwest field (gravel) for parking. None of these options were deemed appropriate due to the fact they would take away structured play space for the students and the larger community. Placing the new parking in the North East area of the school behind the modular building would allow the School District to maintain active play space while also ensuring no mature trees are removed (one small 7-year-old tree would be relocated onsite). A variance application was also considered to alter the requirement for the 14 additional parking spots; however, after discussions with City staff, the School District decided to proceed with the regular permitting process and adhere to City bylaws.
As early as the fall of 2016, the school and School District regularly communicated electronically with the community and at PAC meetings about the need for more classrooms at Ridgeway. As part of this communication, the school community was made aware that additional parking stalls were required under City bylaw. At the April 2018 Parent Advisory Council meeting, parents were informed of the location for the parking lot behind the modular building. However, I recognize that the School District's communication fell short this school year regarding updates for this project. We have identified areas within our internal communications that can be improved to keep parents better apprised moving forward.
The school district is working with the City of North Vancouver for an extension of the Temporary Occupancy Permit and will be submitting a variance request. We will provide the school community additional information when it becomes available.
Superintendent, North Vancouver School District