The former Central School is located on Green Avenue. The large heritage property could become a community centre for people living with barriers. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Former Central School eyed for re-development

The non-profit Eclipse Foundation is proposing re-development of former Central School

Re-development of the former Central School was on Trail council’s table Monday night.

The Eclipse Foundation for Individualized Support (Eclipse) approached council in March requesting the property be re-zoned to allow use beyond the site’s current commercial designation of “Business Enterprise Zone.”

Eclipse is a non-profit foundation proposing to purchase the building and develop affordable housing units for individuals living with barriers. The group has stated intent to expand the premises with “social enterprise opportunities” such as a cafe, community gym, commercial kitchen, daycare facility, office spaces, and mini-storage units.

The present zoning classification permits a maximum of five dwelling units and short term accommodations, in addition to furniture and beer manufacturing.

A bylaw amendment is required before Eclipse can develop the property to meet its mandate of “providing affordable, safe and secure environments for individuals with barriers a quality of life in which to live, socialize and work.”

Part of that process included the city notifying residents within 50 metres of the proposed changes, in this case, 57 letters were issued. Additionally, a public hearing was required to give neighbours an opportunity to voice concerns and/or opposition to the proposed change-in-use – in total, the city received six submissions, five verbal and one written.

A handful of residents attended the public session, which was held in chambers prior to this week’s regular meeting.

Overall, the respondents were troubled with the potential of increased traffic and parking needs along the narrow and steep stretch of Green Avenue, stress on the city’s existing infrastructure, future tenancy, and the foundation’s ability to maintain the large heritage property.

Respondents emphasized the neighbourhood has developed a sense of community, which includes many children and families. They were uneasy that additional low income housing could introduce more drug and alcohol-related problems to the West Trail neighbourhood.

Shannon Ferguson spoke on behalf of Eclipse, and replied the building would be zero-tolerance and staff would be on-site at all times. She also pointed out that the majority of Eclipse clients to do not drive.

Their goal, as a small enterprise, is to provide an inclusive community and higher quality of life for those living with barriers, she added.

“We want to be the best game, not the biggest.”

Mayor Mike Martin closed the public hearing. He reassured attendees that Trail council would remain cognizant of their concerns moving forward, but he personally viewed Eclipse’s proposal as a positive.

“What I see happening here is an asset for our community and something that could serve the community very well,” he said. “I certainly appreciate the issues around parking and safety … what I’ve heard is the proponent will be doing everything they can to minimize the impact on neighbours.”

During the regular meeting, council unanimously approved a third reading for the bylaw amendment.

The process is still subject to provincial approval before final adoption.

“Any proposed zoning change within 800 metres of a Controlled Access Highway (Highway 3B) requires the approval of the Ministry of Transportation,” clarified Corporate Administrator Michelle McIsaac. “The ministry considers if the proposed rezoning will have any impact on the highway in terms of traffic volumes or pattern changes and may include requirements for said approval.”

Typically, the city receives word back from ministry staff within four to six weeks of submission, McIsaac added.

“If the ministry approves, council would then be in a position to adopt the bylaw.”

Just Posted

Starbucks baristas in Trail donate $7,000 in tips

Funds will go toward the breakfast program in five Kootenay Columbia elementary schools

Good fencing makes good neighbours— especially when your neighbours are bears

Workshop in Pass Creek this weekend to promote benefits of proper protection for livestock

Feeling the heat

What you see: If you have a recent photo to share email

Air time at Trail Sk8 Park

The Trail Sk8Park is located near the Gyro Park boat launch

B.C. MP’s climate-change alarmism challenged

Letter to the Editor from Thorpe Watson, PhD, Warfield

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Most Read