Fruitvale forges ahead with middle school development

Village completes Middle School Master Plan, will hold Open House at Haines Park next month

The Village of Fruitvale’s Middle School Development Project is taking a giant leap forward next month.

City Spaces Consulting completed a Master Plan of how Phase 1 of the project will look and is requesting residents final approval at an outdoor public forum on Sept. 12.

The Village hosted an open house in January to gauge public input on what they would like to see on the property of the former Beaver Valley Middle School between Green Road and Columbia Gardens Rd., adjacent to Haines Park.

“The public came in and they had a chance to design their own features for the Middle School property,” explained Chief Administrative Officer Kelli Tuttle. “Then it went back to our consultants and they compiled everything together and designed a master plan that fit with all the recommendations and the things that came out of the open house charrette.”

Village council will host the public forum at Haines Park, in which they will reveal the details of the Middle School Master Plan development, with strict COVID measures in place.

“Now we’ve got the master plan, council is liking what they see and would like to adopt the plan,” said Tuttle. “But before doing that, we wanted to show the public what it looks like.”

A series of poster boards will highlight the design and structure of the proposed development, and residents can maintain safe distancing, while undertaking a self-guided walking tour of the exhibit along the fence bordering the park and middle school property. Council members will be on hand to answer any questions.

“Our phase 1 will be along the lower portion of Columbia Gardens Road, and along that portion we’ll have affordable housing.

“We’ll have homes where people can pay 30 per cent of their income on either the rental or a mortgage, smaller homes that people can afford and there will be some subsidized housing as well, and the other part of it is a childcare centre.”

Phase 1 is set for development, while Phase 2 and 3 has a tentative design in place, which will cater to market housing.

Council also developed a Master Plan for Haines Park, which will enhance and compliment the former middle school project.

“That’s actually why we decided to do a Master Plan on Haines Park as well at the same time,” she said. “This is going to be a middle school/Haines Park open house, and that’s why now is the perfect time to look at Haines Park and see what it should look like to co-mingle with the housing development.”

After falling into disrepair, the Village purchased the Middle School property in two separate sections in 2018 and 2019 for a combined total of just under $350,000. Mayor Steve Morissette and Village council have worked hard to identify the best use for the 3.7 hectares of prime real estate, engaging the public, retaining a consultant, and determining the priorities and needs of the community.

The Village has also requested a meeting with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Selina Robinson, prior to the Union of BC Municipalities Convention next month. Council would like to present the Former Middle School Master Plan, discuss support to demolish the middle school, and receive a commitment from the province to support and promote the project.

In September, the village will send out a request for proposal for the demolition of the former Middle School, and host the outdoor Open House.

Next steps include: sourcing grants and funding through BC Housing, the Community Housing Fund and CMHC, and creating a childcare needs assessment for the BC New Spaces Fund, which offers funding to support the creation, expansion and relocation of child care facilities.

“That’s why we have to get the Master Plan approved because there are grants that are becoming due right away, and we will be applying for the childcare grant and BC Housing grants, so we have to start getting those done.”

Up to 50 people will be allowed to attend the first showing at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12. Residents interested in attending the Open House need to register with the Village before attending.

If more than 50 people register, another showing will be held at 1 p.m. Contact the village office to reserve your spot at 250-367-7551 or email: info@village.fruitvale.bc.

Related read: Renewable Natural Gas facility targeted for Fruitvale

Related read: Fruitvale acquires full site of old middle school

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