Five options for the old Mountain View Elementary site were presented at an open house on Saturday, and they all contain nearly identical ideas – a mix of residential lots and park space, and preservation of the original school building.
“There’s a lot of options,” said retired superintendent Anne Cooper, who is helping with the work on the Mountain View site. “What we’re trying to do today is get some information out and let people comment.”
A steady stream of people showed up at the community centre on Nov. 16 to see the plans and provide their own input into what should be done.
Four of the ideas came from consultants Graham Farstad and Donald Luxton. They all preserve the original school, with parking in the rear of the building. They all call for a mix of residential lots and park space on the rest of the site. Where they differ is in the size of the lots and where the park should be.
“We’re looking at the heritage building, the park, and the residential is the last component to generate value,” said Farstad.
The first option contains 22 10-metre wide lots, and the second option has 19 12-metre wide lots. On each of those, the park would be place in the middle of the site, and the east end would contain six larger lots that could be sold together for future commercial or town home development.
For the third and fourth options, the park would be at the east end of the site and the western portion would be divided into either 10-metre lots or 15.5-metre lots.
“The only thing that I know we all have to remember is we can’t donate the whole piece of land to somebody to develop something without getting any revenue,” said Cooper. “We have an obligation to get some revenue, so that’s our limiting factor.”
The fifth idea was from local planner Glen O’Reilly, who pitched a similar site layout to those of the consultants, but had fewer residential lots on his proposal, and four commercial lots at the east end of the site.
In his proposal, the parkland would be at the middle of the site and would provide a connection from St. Peter’s Church to the riverfront, where, ideally, a small landing would be built.
James Walford, a member of the city’s heritage committee, said he wasn’t overly concerned with what happened to the site, as long as the heritage school building is preserved.
“I think most of us are in agreement,” he said. “Lots of people would like to see it retained for school use or commercial use, but I just want it retained.”
Kelly Rienks agreed that the heritage building should be kept. “My worry is they don’t find a buyer so it deteriorates more,” he said. “That will be the challenge.”
His wife Mieken said she hopes the heritage building would be turned into a community centre for youth groups. “There’s so many that are in basements or churches,” she said. “A lot of communities have youth centres for all the youth groups.”
The school district has started the process of designating the original school building as a heritage site.
A statement of significance prepared by Luxton notes the school “is valued as the last remaining example of a large, masonry school constructed during the early years of Revelstoke’s development, and as an excellent example of institutional neoclassical architecture. It is connected with the early growth and development of the Revelstoke community.”
He concludes “it is an important landmark in the community.”
Luxton also prepared a statement of significance for the former student support services and aboriginal education building, which was originally built in 1938 as the manual training and home economics building. Retired superintendent Cooper has commonly referred to the building at the pink pimple, and Luxton’s report reflected that sentiment, saying, that due to the modest, utilitarian nature of the building, and the high costs of rehabilitation, it shouldn’t be retained as a heritage site.
Cooper said she and the consultants will be going over the public feedback over the winter and will also start the process to solicit interest in purchasing the heritage building.
They will then come up with a plan to present to the Revelstoke Board of Education for re-zoning the site.
See the proposals below. Which do you like best? Comment at the end of this article.
Correction: An earlier version of this article said Anne Cooper referred to the manual training building as the “pink nipple”. In fact, she refers to it as the “pink pimple.” We regret the error.