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There's lead in fountains at Vancouver schools but the board doesn't want you to know about it... yet

At last night's Vancouver School Board meeting, trustee Carrie Bercic brought forward a motion that some feel has been long overdue.

At last night's Vancouver School Board meeting, trustee Carrie Bercic brought forward a motion that some feel has been long overdue.

The motion calls to ask the province for money to replace pipes, permanently shut down some fountains, and install water bottle filling stations to make sure kids aren't being exposed to lead that's in the pipes of some of our schools.

Testing conducted in 2016 and 2017 showed that 6% of drinking fountains in Vancouver elementary and high schools exceeded the federal and provincial guidelines which set 10 parts per billion as the maximum safe amount.

Bercic's motion called for "immediate solutions" to be put in place and that parents be informed of the issue right away.

Of course the district has known that there's lead in the pipes for a very long time. They built the schools, they didn't inherit them with no knowledge of this, and they've been hacking away at eliminating lead in the water for a long time.

As Bercic tells us, she first learned of the issue when her son was going into kindergarten. He's 25 now.

Earlier this month B.C.’s Education Minister Rob Fleming said that the province has provided $750,000 to clean up drinking water across the province, saying "contaminated water is a huge student safety issue."

Actions taken to reduce the danger in Vancouver schools have included flushing of pipes, replacing piping and shutting certain fountains down. Also the strange practice of "trickling water" is happening. That is, keeping a fountain going all day every day so that lead won't build up.

Trickling isn't exactly the greenest option and, like most of the other solutions being used, it's not foolproof.

Bercic's motion notes that "A fountain in at least one Vancouver school was inadvertently not permanently shut down after lead tests were too high. It remained running for a year – all while staff and students were consuming unsafe water."

The motion passed unanimously, however not before some amendments were made to it.

School board trustees Fraser Ballantyne (NPA), Janet Fraser (Green), and Allan Wong (Vision) are all running for re-election to the school board on October 20th. Lisa Dominato (NPA) is hoping to hop from the school board onto a council seat. All of these incumbents voted in favour of an amendment that said parents won't be informed about the issue until the end of October.

Yes, that's just a few days after the upcoming election they're running in. Interesting timing.

Bercic (OneCity) and Estrellita Gonzalez (Green) were the only two up for re-election who voted against the delay, as they want parents to know right away.

Would it be safe to say that some politicians have put their personal futures in politics before informing parents of an important issue that concerns the wellbeing of their children?

If the answer is no let's talk about lead in our kids' water now. Before the election.

With files from Tracy Sherlock


This is Vancouver’s Stupidest Politics Column, informing voters on the craziness going on during the run-up to the 2018 election in Vancouver. Read the archive HERE.

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