Disposal of Land at Vic High/Project Funding

The following provides factual information directly to the public and contributes to accurate public discourse.

There have been several publications including a video, media releases, and social media posts that infer that the Greater Victoria School Board did not follow policy on the disposal of land near Vic High and that the school’s current track is not being upgraded due to an eight metre greenway that will be used for an affordable housing project. Further, there continue to be claims that a cost overrun for the SJ Burnside project has taken away funding for additional amenities at Vic High, more specifically taking away funding for an upgraded track.

Please review the following facts below for clarification:

  • The Victoria High school project has gone through extensive consultation from start to finish, starting in 2018 with consultation on the seismic options.
  • Last fall, there was another consultation process around the disposal of land which would result in additional funding for the school’s seismic project. Note: every school district must contribute to a major capital project.
  • This additional funding from the land disposal resulted in the District having $1.5-$1.9 to fund additional amenities. A visioning group was created and consultation proceeded on how the additional funding should be allocated. What we heard through the vision group’s work and directly from the community through consultation was that these funds be focused on an astronomy deck, fitness-health classroom enhancements, and upgrading the memorial stadium.
  • The Ministry funding announced in June 2019 did not include funding for outside amenities. Due to the cost of the stadium project and funding constraints, the district was not afforded the opportunity to invest in an expanded track. Please refer to our amenities report with costing options.
  • For all the details please review our background info, media releases, engagement summary reports: www.sd61.bc.ca/news-events/community/vic-high-planning-for-the-future/


*Please review our website where you will find this information – including the report that went to the Board featuring public input and the costs associated with all of the amenities.*

  • The expansion of the track was not recommended or passed by the Board due to the high cost. It has been estimated and reported that the envisioned eight lane track would cost approximately $7 million. To date, the Alumni Association raised $166,000, and with partner funding, approximately $500,000.
  • Vic High Alumni Association has supported the current proposal for improving fields and related facilities through its letter of support:


  • In addition, there have been claims that the disposal of land did not follow Board Policy. This is not true.
  • The consultation held in Fall 2019 was a disposal consultation guided by the Board’s Real Property Disposal Policy 7110.  The Board’s policy excludes easement and the Ministry of Education approval is not required for an easement.
  • Following Policy 7110, the Board determined the 8m greenway was not required for educational purposes since it was a gravel covered area mainly rented out to the film industry.
  • Land valuation is determined by highest and best use, taking into consideration encumbrances and other restrictions.
  • When considering land disposition the Board must address that the sale or long-term lease of land is not disposed of at less than fair market value if it is to a for-profit party. However, the Board can approve the sale or long term lease of land under fair market value if it is to a local government, community agency, or other not-for-profit. In the case of this lease it would be with an organization that falls under the category of local government, community agency, or other not-for-profit.
  • Further, there have been statements made about an announcement in January 2018 confirming the construction of the envisioned track. To be clear, this announcement was made by some members of the school’s alumni as they ramped up efforts to fundraise for the track. The Board of Education or School District did not commit to the construction of a new multi-million dollar track. The Board and School District supported their fundraising efforts but would not commit to any plans until further public consultation.

To address further misinformation about the funding of the project, please review the following:

  • It is important to note that before any Ministry funding was ever announced, it was determined that SJ Willis and SJ Burnside were part of a plan to create a “swing space”, a space to house students for two years while Vic High was seismically upgraded.
  • SJ Burnside required upgrades to support the programming offered at SJ Willis (alternative education, continuing education, and distributed learning options) and make space for Vic High students at SJ Willis, just up the street from Vic High.
  • The Board determined to fund the SJ Burnside renovation project internally in anticipation of students having to be displaced during the construction at Vic High. In addition, this decision would create improved learning environments for all learners at both SJ Burnside and SJ Willis.
  • Since the SJ Burnside project was completed before the funding was announced for Vic High, the Ministry could not contribute to a completed project.

The claim that a deficit from the SJ Burnside project took away funding from the Vic High seismic project and Vic High’s amenities is not true. Vic High’s budget was not reduced due to a overage on Burnside.

  • A $2M shortfall of SJ Burnside Educational Centre was attended through the means of:
    1. Technology replacement reserve
    2. Ministry Restricted Capital
    3. Local capital set aside for Vic High Seismic Project (NOT Ministry $77.1M funding nor $4.1 – $4.5M Caledonia proceeds including amenities funding)
    4. Local capital set aside for Shoreline Seismic Project (NOT Ministry funding yet to be announced)
    5. Surplus from Quadra Warehouse Project
  • Further, local capital dollars are accumulated in two ways at the Board’s discretion as follows:
    1. Monies the Board sets aside on an annual basis from Operating funds.
    2. Past property dispositions where property and buildings were shared with the MOE upon acquisition/construction.  Vic High is a future disposition; therefore, it is not included in the current local capital balance used to fund the Burnside project.
  • The District’s cost-sharing of $2.6M on the Vic High Project is due to the high costs of the seismic option, which includes preserving the school’s heritage elements. The Ministry is providing us with $77.1M, and the estimated cost of the project is $79.7M, which includes the cost to renovate SJ Willis to accommodate students while Vic High is upgraded.
  • All school districts are required to contribute to capital projects. This money can come from Operating funds and Local Capital at the Board’s discretion or Ministry of Education Restricted Capital at the Board’s and Ministry’s discretion.
  • Local capital is allocated solely at the discretion of the Board.
  • There was and continues to be $500K earmarked from future local capital for the Vic High project.
  • A motion was passed in June 2019 to temporarily reallocate the $500K to cover a funding shortfall at SJ Burnside due to the timing of incoming revenue. Upon future receipt of local capital, the $500K will be allocated back to the Vic High Seismic Project as the Board had originally intended.
  • A motion was not tabled to show future local capital coming back to Vic High because the Board has every intention to use the Caledonia proceeds towards Vic High. When the district allocates upcoming proceeds in Local Capital for the Vic High project, a motion will come forward at that time.
  • It’s important to note that the Ministry has also taken $2M off the District’s contribution to the Vic High Project due to the District’s $2M local capital contribution to SJ Burnside.  This positioned the school district to only have to contribute the $2.6M to the Vic High project rather than $4.6M.
  • The $2M funding shortfall at SJ Burnside has not taken anything away from the Vic High project.
  • The $2M funding shortfall at SJ Burnside has not been funded by any Vic High Ministry funding nor Caledonia proceeds.



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