District selling land to developer

Nanaimo school district will have an extra $1.5 million richer thanks to the sale of a piece of land to a private developer.

Nanaimo school district is an extra $1.5 million richer thanks to the sale of a piece of land not needed for educational purposes to a private developer.

Trustees approved the sale of a 2.4-hectare plot of land behind Oliver Woods Community Centre to Insight Holdings Ltd. at a closed board meeting in March.

A bylaw to dispose of the property was passed at a May 22 open board meeting.

Jamie Brennan, school board chairman, said the district has been in negotiations with Insight for some time about the sale of the land.

He said the deal with Insight is for a portion of the 8.5-hectare land the district owns off Oliver Road and the remainder is being transferred to the city for parkland as part of an eight-property land swap deal.

“The city obtains a fairly large chunk of land good for wildlife and park enthusiasts,” said Brennan, adding he’s been told that the portion of land sold to Insight is the only part of the land suitable for development.

And since the province expects districts to contribute funds for capital projects – the district is contributing $3 million toward the Wellington Secondary School seismic project out of restricted capital funds – the extra money in the bank is helpful, Brennan added.

Donna Reimer, school district spokeswoman, said the property was originally purchased for a joint project between the city and district for a new secondary school/recreation complex, but that plan fell through.

News Bulletin archives show the city backed out of the joint project in 2001 because of a lawsuit from Insight.

Phil Turin, secretary-treasurer, said because the district bought the Oliver Road property with local funds, the money from the sale will go into a local capital account.

The significance of this is the district will be able to spend that money on capital projects without having to obtain permission from the Ministry of Education first, he said.

Turin said before the sale is completely finalized, certain conditions have to be met, some revolve around city services so the land can be developed.

“The deal is a major positive because it means the district will get $1.5 million for a property that it was not using,” said Turin.