Yaletown parents camp for kindergarten places
Parents in downtown Vancouver are camping out in the snow and slush to ensure that their pre-schoolers will get a place at a popular kindergarten.
Yaletown is short of schools for the number of young families now living there. Elsie Roy Elementary is the only public school and is too small for demand.
Last year, 21 families were turned away and had to register their children for kindergarten at other schools
Douglas Tronsgard is in line already -- to register his daughter for next fall.
"I bought a tent and my sleeping bag, food, you name it," he said.
Anne Mellstrom's husband is also camped out in order to register their son, Ethan.
"We've been camping out since Friday for kindergarten registration on Monday," she said.
Patti Bacchus, the chairwoman of the Vancouver School Board, said the school was built as the area was increasing in population.
"It was really built to accommodate the students that were here then. And by the time it opened -- within a year or so it was already over capacity," she said.
"The way the Ministry of Education tends to fund capital construction is they look at how many children are living in the catchment at the time of planning and it's difficult when you have a lot of growth to accurately forecast that."
The board is looking at expanding the school, or opening another one at the international village in Chinatown.
"As a school board we have to apply to the provincial government to get projects approved and that's a fairly lengthy and complex process. I'd certainly like to see that fast-tracked," said Bacchus.
After the parents spent two freezing nights outside in tents -- the school board stepped in an allowed them to continue their campout in the school gymnasium.
But that doesn't solve the real problem, says Mellstrom.
"I think we need to see some more schools in the downtown core," she said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Shannon Paterson