PORT HARDY—North Island Secondary School students should be a lot more comfortable this fall — if they actually find themselves back in class.
The final School District 85 board of trustees meeting of the 2013-14 school year began and ended earlier this month with the ongoing strife between B.C.’s striking teachers and their provincial employer. But the board did manage to squeeze in a little non-strike business, including an upgrade of one of the oldest school heating systems in the province.
Following up on its joint heat-recovery project with the Regional District of Mount Waddington at Chilton Regional Arena, the board approved a $1.35 million replacement of the aging heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system at NISS.
The new system, which will replace one of the oldest still-operating school heating systems in the province, is expected to be completed shortly after the start of the 2014-15 school year. The winning bid was tendered by Archie Johnstone Plumbing and Heating of Nanaimo, which indicated a 12-week scope of work to complete the project.
“Hopefully it will be completed by early fall,” treasurer John Martin told the board. “We’d like them to mobilize as soon as possible.”
Heating at the school will be supplemented between late September and late March by waste heat recovered from ice generation at nearby Chilton Regional Arena, through a recovery system approved by the RDMW last spring and set for completion this summer.
Budget bylaw OK’d
The Board gave approval to the first three readings of the 2014-15 budget bylaw, following a change from the draft bylaw submitted in May.
“We noticed the amount on Aboriginal target funds was low, a few thousand below what was required,” Martin told trustees. “We added some funds by taking them from contracts and some other areas.”
CUPE gets contract
During her presentation to the board, Jodi Welch, representative for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, noted that CUPE had reached a contract agreement with the province, pending a vote of membership.
“The agreement has been funded by the government, which is totally shocking considering the way they’ve treated the teachers,” said Welch.
Sean Gough, incoming president of Vancouver Island North Teachers’ Association, congratulated Welch on CUPE’s contract while noting the teachers face a different set of challenges in their stalemate with the province over a negotiated bargain.
“I agree they have two different approaches,” Welch noted. “One for teachers, and one for us.”