There is near unanimous support for retaining the historic Mountain View Elementary school building and park space on the site of the old school, while the public also generally supports larger lots on the site.
That’s the summation of the feedback received at the Mountain View open house that was held in November.
The information was presented to the Revelstoke Board of Education by superintendent Mike Hooker at their meeting on Jan. 8..
180 people attended the open house at the community centre and 102 people filled out comment sheets. “We saw a lot of people coming and going and talked a lot of what people’s hopes and dreams were for the Mountain View site,” said Hooker.
He summarized the comments in a report to the board:
— Almost everyone wanted to keep the old school and were willing to see the other buildings removed.
— There was universal support for a park on the site but opinion was divided on locating the park at the middle of the site or on the Garden Avenue side.
— People generally supported larger lots. Of the two options with the park in the middle of the site, more people preferred larger lots than smaller (27 versus 18). Feedback was similar for the two options with the park near Garden Avenue, with 27 people wanting larger lots compared to nine people favouring smaller lots.
— Few people related smaller lots to affordable housing, though some people did support high-density, townhouse-style developments.
— On future uses for the historic building, most people supported community or cultural uses. Suggestions included condos, independent seniors housing, a private health clinic, office space, restaurant, micro-brewery and retail use.
There were also some issues brought up:
— The foundation of the old Central School is still buried in the ground under the existing playing field and would need to be removed prior to development.
— Bear Aware noted the river bank along Third Street is a wildlife corridor, so housing could lead to garbage management issues.
In general, people were satisfied with the way the process was being conducted, said Hooker.
“We’re really looking at what will be best for the community,” he said.
Hooker said the information is still being compiled to create a final plan for the site. Obtaining heritage designation for the historic school building is the priority right now.
The school board is also waiting on approvals for re-zoning and sub-dividing the Big Eddy site. The market value of those lots could help determine how things move forward with Mountain View.
“We have to remember we’re in Revelstoke and not Richmond. Richmond built a new secondary school and sold the land just like that,” said school board chair Alan Chell.
“Our first test will be what is the market. We’ve done everything the way we’re supposed to do it, it’s just a matter of what is the local market.”