Trustees approve district land deal

NANAIMO – School trustees gave the official stamp of approval to a major land exchange deal with city.

Nanaimo school trustees gave the official stamp of approval to a major land exchange deal with the city, as well as three right-of-way requests, at Wednesday’s board meeting.

The board passed four property disposal bylaws for lands intended to go to the city as part of the land swap deal announced last December – the Harewood playing field, the old Northfield school site, a portion of the district’s Oliver Woods property and the Dickinson Road property, known as Pioneer Park.

Phil Turin, the district’s secretary-treasurer, said the district had to first obtain approval from the Education Ministry to dispose of the lands before passing the bylaws that formalize the deal.

“That’s a big job, to get the minister to approve it,” he said.

The province’s approval is contingent on the transactions being completed by March 31 of next year.

Turin said he hopes the work can be finished in this time frame – earlier this year, city officials expected the land swap deals to complete by Dec. 31, 2014 – so he doesn’t have to go back to the Education Minister and get permission to extend the approval order.

He called the agreement with the city an exciting step for the district.

“I don’t think it’s ever happened between the city and the district before and the parties have been working very well together,” said Turin, adding a number of conditions on various properties need to be met for the deal to go through.

At the same time the district received approval for the land swap, the province also approved the sale of the old Waterloo school site, and Diamond school site. The Waterloo property is for sale and the Diamond site is being sold to the Ladsmith Little Theatre Society.

Trustees also approved requests by B.C. Hydro and the city for right-of-ways on district property.

The Hydro request is to replace and move a pole that is currently in the middle of the sidewalk in front of Quarterway Elementary School to another location on the property for safety reasons.

The city has two requests – to construct a public sidewalk and bus bay in front of Woodlands Secondary School and a pedestrian/bicycle connection to the E&N Trail at the corner of the Woodlands property near Northfield Road.