- 2015 Federal Election
Bid made to keep Ashton Creek school
There’s uncertainty over a community asset in Ashton Creek.
Jackie Pearase, regional district director, urged the North Okanagan-Shuswap School District Tuesday to consider community needs and not just sell Ashton Creek Elementary to the highest bidder.
“They didn’t ask me any questions. It’s hard to read what they’re going to do,” she said.
“I’m not sure if they have already made up their minds or if they are keeping an open mind. I hope it is the latter.”
The school was closed last year because of low enrolment and the school district has deemed it surplus, paving the way for it to be sold.
Pearase hopes the school district won’t just be attracted to the highest offer but will consider the role the school building has played in Ashton Creek for decades.
“The school district isn’t a money-making entity. It’s about community and education and the building could serve that purpose.”
Pearase would like to see the site sold to Ashton Creek Fellowship, which currently leases the building for church services.
“Community members utilize the gymnasium for winter sports and the local cadet corps will soon hold its weekly meetings in the building,” she said.
She added that renovations by the church have made the building more appealing for special events and there could be after-school programs, sports, a community garden and possibly health services.
“The will is there to create partnerships and have the building better utilized.”
The school district is currently in a consultation phase with residents and prospective buyers about properties it may sell.
“When the process wraps up, we will have a clearer idea of what the public thinks of selling public space,” said Chris Coers, trustee for Ashton Creek.
Coers says she is aware of the desire among residents to retain public access to the school.
“I am elected by this community to listen to these issues so this is important to me,” she said.
“The board has a responsibility to consider fair market value but that’s only what the seller is willing to accept and what the buyer is willing to offer.”
A decision on selling the property could be made by trustees in March.