A Nelson delegation urged BC’s education minister to get on with the rebuild of Trafalgar Middle School at the recent Union of BC Municipalities convention, but the response wasn’t very encouraging.
Mayor John Dooley, councillor Bob Adams, and city manager Kevin Cormack met with Peter Fassbender to implore him to take action on the 90-year-old school, which has topped the Kootenay Lake school district’s capital plan for more than five years. The district is seeking $22 million in provincial funding.
Dooley noted Monday that the city has already ensured the zoning is in place and transferred some property to the school district to enable the project.
“Unfortunately it’s been sitting in limbo ever since,” he said. “We wanted to impress upon the minister the need for the upgrades to Trafalgar. We believe it’s vitally important to the community and the well-being of our youth. Hopefully it’s not going to fall on fall on deaf ears, but it didn’t sound too promising.”
Dooley said while the minister was not unsympathetic, he pointed to other schools that are in even worse shape and therefore in more dire need of upgrades.
The mayor said that ironically, while the school is old, it has been well-maintained.
In April, the school’s parent advisory committee held a meeting to try to kickstart the replacement process. At that time, they heard the government’s priorities are fast-growing districts and schools that need seismic upgrades. Trafalgar doesn’t fall in either category.
The school was built in 1924 with several additions since. It presently has students in Grades 6 to 8 but a rebuilt school would be intended for students in K to 8 and result in the closure of South Nelson elementary.