05/28/2013 03:13 EDT | Updated 07/28/2013 05:12 EDT

North Vancouver parents fight for covered areas

Some North Vancouver parents are demanding the school district provide covered play areas at new schools because of the amount of rain on the North Shore.

The Cover Our Kids campaign, formed by a group of parents from Highlands Elementary School, says school on Vancouver's rain-soaked North Shore require students to go outside for morning recess almost every day.

"We want the kids to be outside, we know the value of that. But we want to give them the respect of an option," said Erin MacNair, a mom and member of Cover Our Kids, in an interview with Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.

MacNair says while parents are grateful for Highlands, a newly built school, they question why older school were built with covered play areas but the new schools weren't.

"We live in a rainforest and we have twice the precipitation of Vancouver," said MacNair.

Not enough rain, says district

France Stratton, the chair of the North Vancouver School District, says when Highlands was being constructed, it didn't meet the Ministry of Education's guidelines for covered play areas, which require an average of 2,000 millimetres of annual precipitation across the district.

But MacNair disputes those figures, saying the North Shore gets about 2,500 millimetres according to government statistics.

Stratton also says the school district supports the idea of covered play areas, but has to be careful about its decisions given limited public funding.

"The priority for the school district right now, and from the Ministry of Education, is seismic and safe schools," said Stratton, "so those are some of the priorities the board has to grapple with to provide safe learning environments."

The North Vancouver School District says that when planning the school, which was opened in 2009, the most recent verified annual precipitation measurement didn't meet the provincial threshold. The district says it was using data collected in 1990, which showed and annual precipitation of 1,889 millimetres.

The school district is meeting with parents tonight to discuss the issue.

The Early Edition, hosted by Rick Cluff, is on the air every weekday morning from 5:30 a.m. to 8:37 a.m. on CBC Radio One. 88.1 FM / 690 AM.