A.B. Greenwell still sits idle in Lake Cowichan. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)

A.B. Greenwell still sits idle in Lake Cowichan. (Sarah Simpson/Gazette)

Still waiting: provincial funding request holds up Cowichan Lake school demolitions

A.B. Greenwell and Stanley Gordon Elementary Schools are slated for removal

The Cowichan Valley School District has applied for fund to deal with two of the Cowichan Lake area’s derelict schools.

A.B. Greenwell, Stanley Gordon and J.H. Boyd schools have sat vacant for years and have been ripe for vandalism, squatters and ne’er-do-wells, “and it creates some anxiety in nearby communities when it comes to things like fire and whatnot,” said Lake Cowichan Mayor Bob Day recently. “Last I heard with all of that, is they [the Cowichan Valley school board] have to make an application for some fund within the provincial government for demolition funds. All we can do is keep having conversations with the school district and expressing our concerns over the conditions of the buildings,” said the mayor. “Once a year we bring it up for sure.”

The J.H. Boyd property was sold about a decade ago to a private individual so neither the town nor the school district have the power to demolish it.

It’s a tricky situation with the other two schools, however, explained Cowichan Valley School District spokesman Mike Russell.

“The school board has submitted a request for demolition funding as part of their five-year capital plan to the Ministry of Education for both A.B. Greenwell and Stanley Gordon,” he explained. “As both of those schools are situated on Crown land they both would be eligible for demolition support.”

Russell explained that because the schools sit on Crown land, once the schools are demolished, the land goes back to the Crown. Therein lies the problem: “Usually we sell a school and if it needs to be knocked down, the proceeds of the sale go towards knocking down the school,” Russell explained. That can’t happen with schools on Crown land.

The school district has yet to hear back from the provincial government regarding their request for funds to cover the demolition of A.B. Greenwell and Stanley Gordon.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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