Mar Jok Elementary, show here when it was under construction, is the last new school to be built in West Kelowna. (Contributed)

School catchments set for new West Kelowna developments

Smith Creek and Goat’s Peak elementary school designations approved

The first steps toward reorganizing catchment areas for Westside schools were adopted at the Central Okanagan Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

The trustees approved a series of resolutions to formalize English catchment areas for new subdivisions planned for Smith Creek and Goat’s Peak.

As well, effective in the 2022-23 school year, the English catchment for a portion of the Tallus Ridge subdivision will shift from Mar Jok to Shannon Lake Elementary. This will apply only to future incoming students so as not to disrupt elementary schooling for all current Mar Jok students.

It is also subject to approval of capital funding for the new Westside Secondary School by Feb. 28. The project has been approved in principle by the Ministry of Education, but the school district has been since waiting for a confirmation of capital funding.

The new secondary is proposed for a repurposed Ecole George Pringle Elementary, causing a shift in catchment areas for other surrounding elementary schools, the reopening of Webber Road Elementary and reorganization of the French Immersion program for Westside students.

Trustee Chantelle Desrosiers said the intent is to establish clearly for new families moving into the Smith Creek and Goat’s Peak subdivisions where their elementary-aged kids will go to school.

For Smith Creek, students will shift from Ecole George Pringle Elementary to Shannon Lake Elementary, while Goat’s Peak students will shift from Webber Road Elementary to Peachland Elementary.

Ryan Stierman, secretary-treasurer of Central Okanagan Public Schools, noted both subdivisions have sites earmarked by school district land acquisitions for new schools, but that will be dependent on both provincial capital funding and how quickly the two subdivisions begin to fill in with a combined more than 900 housing units.

Desrosiers added the Tallus Ridge realignment has been an ongoing issue for impacted families, citing a closer geographic association to Shannon Lake Elementary.

“This proposal is only to move new families in the revised area as students currently at Mar Jok will be exempt,” she said.

(Information on where exactly the boundaries shift within the Tallus Ridge subdivision is available on the Central Okanagan Public Schools website.)

She also said the next meeting of the planning and facilities committee on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 6 p.m. via Zoom, will seek recommendations for the board of education regarding a series of further catchment changes for Okanagan Mission and Westside schools.

“That will be a long meeting but it deals with important decisions that have to be made,” said Moyra Baxter, chair of the Central Okanagan Board of Education.

Those recommendations will be voted on at the Jan. 26 board of education meeting.

READ MORE: Mission, Westside schools undergo catchment review

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