Wynndel residents have long enjoyed the parklike area between the Wynndel Community Centre and the former elementary school

Wynndel residents have long enjoyed the parklike area between the Wynndel Community Centre and the former elementary school

Wynndel residents want to buy former elementary school

Web Lead

  • May. 30, 2013 8:00 p.m.

With the former Wynndel Elementary School about to be put up for public tender, residents are making one last push to buy the property.

“This isn’t about the building,” resident Korie Bartsch said on Friday. “The building is dying. But the property is very important green space in the heart of the community and adjacent to our community centre. It would be devastating to lose it.”

Wynndel Elementary School operated from 1955 until its closure in 2008 and it has sat unused since.

A proposal to acquire the property for a private school was previously denied by School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) in 2009.

In late 2009, residents caught wind of a potential sale of the property to an addiction treatment provider and rallied to halt the sale. About 200 packed a town hall meeting in January 2010 to express their concerns. The sale did not proceed.

After learning in December 2012 that the school district intends to dispose of the property, Bartsch traveled to Nelson on behalf of the Wynndel Community Centre and offered the board of trustees a nominal $10 to purchase the property.

“Our proposal would have put stewardship of the property into the community’s hands and relieved the school district of liability,” she said. “The proposal was rejected.”

Now, she said, “the entire community is now faced with a final battle. … With the public consultation now duly complete, nothing stands in the way of our own little park becoming history.”

The price it would take to acquire the property is unknown, but residents have been told they could accept less than fair market value if there is a good foundation for “alternate community purpose”, which the board believes is met by the park and green space use.

SD8 will benefit marginally from a property sale. It would retain only 25 per cent of the sale price, with the remainder going to the province.

The Wynndel Commu-nity Centre is setting up a fund to be held in a separate account. Donations will be held in the account, in confidence, and will be returned if the group is unsuccessful in making the purchase. If the purchase is made, charitable donation tax receipts will be issued.

To make a donation, or for further information, call treasurer Bruce Johnston at 250-866-5258.