July 08, 2016 - 6:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - With less than a month to go before the city takes it over the future of Stuart Wood school is still uncertain.
As the Kamloops school district vacates the building, the city is taking responsibility for the property. While current costs are only basic maintenance, mayor Peter Milobar says renovations on the heritage site could be in the neighbourhood of $6 million depending on how the building is used.
“It’s going to be an expensive repair and fix and upgrade, whatever we do in there,” Milobar says.
Right now, the city and province are still trying to figure out what the property can be used for due to a 100-year-old covenant.
“We only own the building if it’s used for educational purposes,” he says. “So we’re trying to get a definition and better understanding from the government about what does that mean.”
Over the last century, school acts and definitions have changed, so it's unclear what the intent of the terms are. Milobar says the provincial government has been good to work with.
If it’s not used for the correct purpose under the covenant, the land and building become the province’s property.
“We’re trying to wrap ourselves around what does that clause in terms of educational purposes look like to the provincial government,” he says.
Multiple branches in the provincial government are looking into the definition, CAO David Trawin says, including the education ministry and the agency responsible for crown lands.
Trawin says city administration and council would prefer to keep the building under city control as the province doesn’t have a great track record of using buildings in downtown areas pointing out it’d be better to see the heritage building used for something vibrant and community oriented.
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