The demolition of former schools A.B. Greenwell and Stanley Gordon is supported by the Town of Lake Cowichan and Mayor Bob Day said he hopes to get that wrecking ball moving a little faster.
“We’ve been sitting around looking at those for quite some time now,” Day said. “We’ve shown interest in one of them but it turns out it’s in the Agricultural Land Reserve and already was turned down for bringing out of the agricultural land reserve once.”
The goal now is to tear them down and make way for something new. It sounds easier than it has turned out to be.
“They’re there. They’re stuck in limbo. It’s the province’s job to find funding to do something with them or sell them but they are on Crown land so that’s not easy to do,” Day explained. “As we all know, First Nations, and rightfully so, have the first right to that land once they stop being schools and so let’s get on with it and put it to a better use.”
Chairperson Candace Spilsbury and the Cowichan Valley Board of Education have applied for funding to demolish both schools and are awaiting word from the province. News as to whether they‘ll receive funding won’t arrive until March of 2021, Day said.
He doesn’t want to sit idle and wait.
“I’ve reached out to Candace and the Cowichan Leadership Group, made up of all the mayors and heads of RCMP and Island Health officials in our area and others and asked the group ‘what can we do to support the application for the funding?’ because the buildings are just sitting there,” he said. “They’re of no further use to anybody, they’ve been left vacant for so long. It’s time. It’s time to put them to a much better use so let’s move it along.”
Day hopes to get a Zoom meeting with the minister responsible for schools and to “get the right people talking in the same [virtual] room” to find out how they can get the project some support.”