District to unload sites

West Vernon elementary site, Whitevale elementary, the N’Kwala Park site, Heritage Drive and Lakeridge Drive may be disposed of

With the decline in enrolment, the Vernon School District has a number of surplus properties it no longer needs.

At Tuesday’s district board meeting, secretary-treasurer Randy Hoffman said there are five properties that are surplus to the district: the West Vernon elementary site, Whitevale elementary, the N’Kwala Park site, Heritage Drive and Lakeridge Drive.

“West Vernon, N’Kwala, Heritage and Lakeridge have been deemed available for disposal by the passing of bylaws nine to 12,” said Hoffman.

“Since the closure of West Vernon, the site has attracted various interest from those interested in purchasing since 2007 and continues to this day.”

West Vernon is currently home to the North Okanagan Child Care Society.

Hoffman said the district is in formal discussions about the disposal of this property with an interested party at the present time.

“Each and every time the school district has consulted with local and provincial governments, and certainly public input is welcome and has been received since the bylaw was first issued,” he said.

The disposal of N’Kwala, Heritage and Lakeridge — all properties originally sited for new schools — is waiting on Ministry of Education decisions to proceed with disposal, and these sites are included as a form of offsetting financing for the Vernon Secondary School capital project.

Currently, there are leases for use of the N’KWala and Heritage sites with the Regional District of the North Okanagan for use as parks.

“Whitevale elementary school site has not been approved by trustees for disposal and there has been a series of interest over time from interested parties,” said Hoffman.

“Any decision to formally dispose of this property will require a bylaw to initiate the process.”