The Village of Fruitvale has made first steps in revitalizing a long vacant property on Columbia Gardens Road, the former Beaver Valley Middle School.
Through a Jan. 19 public foreclosure process in Rossland Provincial Court, the municipality acquired the 2.6-acre parcel for $149,000.
Last fall, during the annual Union of BC Municipalities conference, Fruitvale Mayor Patricia Cecchini and Coun. Tabatha Webber met with BC Deputy Premier Carole James and Minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson to discuss then-hypothetical opportunities for the site.
Each had since responded with letters of support, promoting partnership in re-casting the site should the village prove successful in acquiring it, Fruitvale’s Jan. 22 news release stated.
“Therefore, while questions on the deteriorating condition of the existing building and future plans for it remain as yet undetermined, the village’s potential to secure development assistance has been enhanced, furthered by the successful acquisition.”
With the purchase completed, Fruitvale council can now review and amend the zoning on the site in order to facilitate Official Community Plan (OCP) policies.
What that means, is through council process, the property can be re-zoned for uses other than Residential Mixed Use.
“As discussions get underway, mayor and council will, along with the village’s administration, assess the site and its current capacities,” the village stated.
“Next steps leading toward an overall plan for the site will follow and include further discussions on partnership opportunities as previously offered by Deputy Premier James and Minister Robinson.”
In the immediate analysis, the acquisition of 1800 Columbia Gardens Road results in public ownership of a sizeable parcel adjacent to servicing infrastructure, residential and recreational lands, the municipality states.
“Going forward, mayor and council, along with village administration, will work collaboratively with all residents to ensure that future outcomes on the site meet the stated objectives of Fruitvale’s OCP and Strategic Plans. Stay tuned.”
A new junior high school – the Beaver Valley Junior High School – was built further along Columbia Gardens Road, and in October 1970, Principal Lloyd Wilkinson and staff supervised pupils from grades 8 through 10 as they carried their desks down the street to the new school.
In 1967, two Grade 7 classes moved into the school, leaving one Grade 7 class at Fruitvale Elementary. Subsequent years saw the grade configuration and the school’s name change numerous times as Grade 7 pupils from Montrose Elementary were added and in 1989, Grade 6 children were included in the school. While the school’s name officially changed to Valley Middle School for the 1993-94 school year, the final name of Beaver Valley Middle School was adopted in 1994. In June 2003, pupils in grades 6 through 8 saw Beaver Valley Middle School empty and close. Grades 6 and 7 pupils rejoined Fruitvale Elementary.