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New investments make more Nanaimo schools seismically safe for students

Students at two Nanaimo schools will soon be safe in the event of an earthquake, with seismic upgrades coming to Cilaire and Pleasant Valley elementary schools.                    

“Parents deserve the comfort of knowing their children will be protected at school if an earthquake were to impact Vancouver Island,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “That’s why we’re moving at record speed to upgrade schools in Nanaimo and throughout B.C, continuing our work to ensure every student can attend a seismically safe school.”

The Government of B.C. is investing a total of $18.8 million for seismic upgrades at Cilaire and Pleasant Valley elementary schools, creating 500 seismically safe seats for Nanaimo students. This funding includes the cost of renovating Rutherford Elementary school and Woodlands Secondary school to be used as temporary accommodations to speed up seismic projects in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District.

In addition, construction will soon be underway on a $15.9-million addition at Hammond Bay Elementary school that will add 295 seats to the district.

“Our government is investing in people and upgrading schools so students are safe,” said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. “I’m thankful that soon, 500 more students will attend seismically safe schools in our community.”

Construction is expected to be underway on the upgrades at both schools in June 2021 and for the schools to be seismically safe by September 2022.

“The safety and well-being of our students and staff remains our top priority,” said Charlene McKay, chair, Nanaimo Ladysmith board of education. “The district’s capital project submission placed these two schools at the top of the list for seismic mitigation. Thank you to the Province of B.C. for acknowledging the need to upgrade the schools and ensuring peace of mind for the children, their families and the staff of the Cilaire and Pleasant Valley communities.”

Both seismic projects include upgrades of the entire schools. To ensure students are disrupted as little as possible and to move the projects forward quickly, Pleasant Valley students will attend Rutherford, while Cilaire students will attend Woodlands school during construction. Transportation will be provided for students to and from their schools.

These investments are an example of government’s work to accelerate the Seismic Mitigation Program and provide every B.C. student with a seismically safe space as soon as possible.


Karen Delves, Pleasant Valley elementary parent –

“This announcement is great news for Pleasant Valley as the project has been discussed for a number of years. It is comforting to know that our children will be learning in buildings that should keep them safe in the event of an earthquake.”

Carla Smith, Cilaire elementary parent –

“Cilaire’s parent advisory council is very excited about the approval of the seismic upgrades funding for our elementary school. It has been a project that has been discussed in our Cilaire community for many years and has been a safety concern for families attending the school. We want to thank both the provincial government and School District 68 for choosing this seismic upgrades project as a high priority for the safety of our children and teaching staff.”

Quick Facts:

  • Since September 2017, the Province has approved over $1.9 billion for 94 major school capital investments, creating over 25,500 seismically safe seats and 12,390 new seats at new and expanded schools throughout B.C.
  • To continue this momentum, Budget 2020 includes a record $2.8 billion for new and expanded schools, seismic upgrades and land purchases for future schools that will improve learning environments for B.C. students.

Learn More:

Students, parents, guardians and teachers can find health and safety guidelines, learning resources and information about schools, programs and educational services, including regularly updated frequently asked questions, online:

Parents and families are encouraged to access resources that support students learning from home:

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