TYSON WHITNEY PHOTO Port McNeill council won’t be making a decision on what to do with the Old School House this year, choosing to wait until after the 2018 municipal election.

Fate of the Old School House in Port McNeill to be determined at a later date

“It’s time now that we started thinking about what we do want to do with it.”

Port McNeill council won’t be making any decisions on what to do with the Old School House this year.

Coun. Shelley Downey confirmed at the town’s last council meeting she doesn’t think there will be a plan made until after the 2018 municipal election is over.

Coun. Graham MacDonald wondered if Port McNeill residents had been involved enough in the discussion about what to do with the outdated building. Mayor Shirley Ackland disagreed with MacDonald, stating she believes the residents of the town have been included in the discussion right from the start.

Council held a public consultation on the Old School House back on Dec. 5, 2016, which was a lively one hour meeting full of questions.

One resident at that 2016 meeting was concerned about the senior’s centre. “The senior’s centre in room five is also a concern of mine, and a priority for us is to build a senior’s community centre,” said Ackland.

Another asked if the insurance on the building is carried by the town.

“It is insured by the town, the whole building,” said Treasurer Dan Rodin, adding they also have insurance for the use of the building as a recreation centre.

Council was asked if they would get a quote for demolition or just go by the $1.3 million estimate that is listed in the 2016 budget.

Rodin replied “let’s back up a bit. The problem with the school at this point in time is that it’s costing us about $33,000 to operate… It’s basically a bit like a money pit, we’re gonna wind up putting a lot of money into it over the next while to maintain the asset. It’s time now that we started thinking about what we do want to do with it.”

The next speaker said it is his understanding the building is currently serving more users than just North Island Community Services, and that fact isn’t being properly reflected in the report to council.

He added it is important to understand there are programs and possibilities for groups who may not be able to pay to use the building, but the town should be providing a service which would be reasonable to cover with tax dollars.

“Good point, that’s exactly why we have said we have no short-term plans,” said Ackland. “We are really looking strategically into the future to see if this is a building we want to keep, knowing exactly how much it actually brings to this community, and what exactly we should put in its place” if council chooses to do replace the building.

One resident asked how the process now moves forward.

“Typically when you have a public consultation, we consider all the information. As we said, there isn’t a plan for today, tomorrow, or the next month. We might decide we want another public consultation when we sort of filter down the kinds of thing that we might be considering,” said Ackland.

The schoolhouse will need to have major repairs.

The roof needs to be replaced, at a cost of about $260,000: the exterior plywood panels and cladding should be replaced: and energy-efficient doors and windows installed, with an estimated cost of between $500,000 – $700,000.

Just Posted

Port Alice resident a descendant of two Aboriginal war heroes

Charlie and Henry Byce are Canada’s most decorated father and son in history.

Port Hardy council hesitant to formalize question period in agendas, refers it to committee

In first act as new council, representatives were uncertain about formalizing question periods.

Gas prices on Vancouver Island to drop six cents

But a ‘volatile’ market could lead to increases in the coming weeks

Mt. Waddington’s Salvation Army releases eye-opening statistics report for 2017

Shelter overnight stays saw a 431 per cent increase since 2014.

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

Roy Clark, country singer, ‘Hee Haw’ star, has died

Guitar virtuoso died because of complications from pneumonia at home in Tulsa, Okla. He was 85.

Lack of funding, culture on campus biggest barriers for Indigenous students: report

Report based on nearly 300 responses found lack of support at post-secondary schools a big concern

Tinder sex assault suspect charged; additional alleged victims sought

Vincent Noseworthy of Alberta is accused of aggravated sexual assault, unlawful confinement and more

Port Hardy Baptist Church’s new building finished entirely by volunteer labour

Courtenay Baptist Church raised $19,000 for an awning at the entrance of the building.

Drug-related deaths double for B.C. youth in care, advocate says

Teens say positive connections with adults key to recovery

Children’s strawberry-flavoured medicines recalled due to faulty safety cap

Three different acetaminophen syrups part of nationwide recall

Around the BCHL: Junior A cities to host World Junior tuneup games

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

Most Read