Schools and school property for sale in B.C.October 23, 2013
The Richmond school district has finally sold the site of the former Steveston secondary school, six years after it shut the school and put the 13-acre property on the market.
Polygon Pacific Homes Ltd. Has agreed to pay $41,125,000 for the property, with plans for a residential development on eight acres, says a Vancouver Sun story. The remainder will be donated to the city as parkland.
More sales of surplus school property are expected, the story says, noting the Education Ministry has approved the disposal of 35 school properties, including 26 that were once school sites.
This follows a change in government policy in 2012, which returned to boards of education the right to dispose of surplus schools and land without first obtaining ministry approval. Read more about that here.
That’s part of a larger government plan to dispose of unused property that has no strategic value. In July, the Finance Ministry announced that 14 properties have been sold, including surplus school land in Delta, a portion of a school board office in Kelowna, and four sites that once held schools – West Vernon elementary, Keith Lynn alternate in North Vancouver and Sunnyside elementary and Anniedale traditional in Surrey.
The release said nine properties are still on the market, including the former school board office in Surrey, a North Vancouver school annex, the former McTavish school site in Central Saanich, the former North Saanich middle school in Sidney and a former school in north central Vancouver Island. (Names weren’t mentioned.)
This week, the New Westminster board announced plans to sell an empty property in Queensborough, but board chairman Michael Ewen declined to give a price or say definitively how the money would be spent.
“It would go to building the new board office eventually. . . . That’s the plan right now, but one just never knows,” he’s quoted as saying. The story then notes the district, which has been struggling financially for many years, is struggling with a $4.4 million shortfall and is searching for money to cover a CUPE pay hike. Read the story here.
Ewen’s comment prompted his colleague, trustee MaryAnn Mortensen, to chastise him on Twitter. “Information is incorrect,” she tweeted. “Capital sale of land can only go to capital expenses.” In other words, land sales aren’t a solution to operating budget woes.
But Ewen said that’s debatable. “Perhaps we can discuss this at the Board table, again. But you are not completely correct,” he tweeted back.