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District eyes selling Cassidy property

Nanaimo school district recently put the old Waterloo School property on the real estate market. - News Bulletin
Nanaimo school district recently put the old Waterloo School property on the real estate market.
— image credit: News Bulletin

Nanaimo school district is thinking about selling off property in Cassidy known as the old Waterloo School site.

The district has not used the site on Vowels Road for a long time and trustees want to sell it and use the proceeds to improve current schools and possibly build new ones in the future, said Jamie Brennan, school board chairman.

"There's absolutely no way this piece of property is going to factor into our future needs," he said. "We're not a real estate company, we don't need to hang onto properties."

The site, which is a two-classroom wood frame building on land slightly bigger than a city lot, was home to the first Waterloo School. The 'new' Waterloo School site nearby was built in 1978 and closed in 2004, then sold in 2008 to the Western Maritime Institute.

Prior to making a final decision on disposition of the property, comments from the public are being accepted.

Written comments can be sent to the Board of Education, attention Phil Turin, secretary-treasurer, at 395 Wakesiah Ave., V9R 3K6, by Aug. 28.

Brennan said this is the first site to be considered for sale and others may follow.

No decisions have been made, but two other sites the board could consider for disposal in the near future are the old Diamond school site in Ladysmith, now used by the Ladysmith Little Theatre group, and the Extension school site, because neither has been used as a school for a long time, he said.

The district owns about 14 sites that do not have operating schools on them, although some are shared ownership with other levels of government.

"We're looking at everything from short-term opportunities to long-term opportunities," said Phil Turin, secretary-treasurer. "The goal of the board is to reduce its inventory in facilities it is not using. Eventually I would hope we would look at all properties."

Brennan said the district is talking with other levels of government about some properties and possibilities for some could include disposal, using the site for educational purposes or partnerships with other groups to develop the property.

"There's so many things going on right now and so many things that need to be decided that haven't yet been decided," he said.

For example, one of the recommendations in the French immersion program review is to reopen the closed Dufferin Crescent school site.

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