The former South Slocan schoolhouse, built in 1929 and seen here in 2000, will be torn down next year. Photo: Greg Nesteroff

The former South Slocan schoolhouse, built in 1929 and seen here in 2000, will be torn down next year. Photo: Greg Nesteroff

Old South Slocan schoolhouse slated for demolition

The 91-year-old schoolhouse will be taken down next year

by John Boivin

Local Journalism Initiative reporter

A building that’s stood as a landmark in South Slocan for nearly a century is coming to the end of its days.

The South Slocan Commission of Management has approved a plan to demolish the 91-year-old South Slocan School building in the community.

“It was pretty hard,” says Ruby Payne, the chair of the commission. “A lot of us have pretty long histories with that building.”

Built in 1929, the old school building saw generations of children from the area go through its doors, including Payne, who attended the first daycare there. It was purchased by the Regional District of Central Kootenay for the community’s use in 1987. That purchase also secured the source of the community’s water system, which is on the same property.

“The building has been kept alive from that point based on a volunteer system, and by really small rental fees,” says Payne. “It really fell on the back of a small, small number of volunteers to keep it going.”

The building was rented out to various groups and individuals over the years, but only made a fraction of the money in rent needed to maintain the structure. And the community hasn’t been able to underwrite the needed repairs.

“Over the years the building has come to the end of its life,” says Payne. “The amount of work it would take to get it back to ship-shape or rebuild is significant. The community, which comprises 51 households – a really small tax base – had this burden of helping make the decision.”

“The issue is that the facility rental is too little to upkeep the building,” explains Joe Chirico, the general manager of community services for the RDCK. “The building has only lasted this long due to the tremendous efforts of local volunteers. Covering operating costs is a fraction of the cost of continual reinvestment.”

At its Nov. 24 meeting, the commission of management, a quasi-council for the community of South Slocan, voted in favour of demolishing the structure.

“They truly are not in a position to take any risks,” adds Chirico. “The water system is a heavy burden on their taxes and through the commission we are trying to remove as much risk as possible while ensuring the water system and easy access to it and the infrastructure is preserved.”

Unable to save the building, Payne says the community will be sad to see it go.

“There’s lots of people who went to school there as children, took a dance class, went to daycare … it was difficult because a lot of people feel strong ties to it,” she says. “But it just feels like we were out of options.

“Nobody is feeling very good about the decision, but we’re also kind of relieved to be in a place where we can make one, because it’s been a conversation that’s been taking place for years and years now,” she added. “So there is some relief in the resolution of it.”

The property is also the site of the community’s water plant, and protecting the water supply has also factored into the decision to remove the structure.

Demolition could begin as early as the spring or summer of 2021, says Chirico. It will be paid for with a small reserve fund the Commission of Management kept for the building.

There’s no discussion yet about what will be done with the property after that.

“Our discussion with the commission … is that we need to get over this hurdle, have the RDCK water service identify critical infrastructure and possible new routes for infrastructure, and then the community should brainstorm low-maintenance ideas,” he says.

The current tenants, including a daycare, have been aware of the impending decision for years and are making plans to move.

– Valley Voice

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

KBFR
Driver taken to hospital after hitting ditch near Genelle

Kootenay Bounary fire rescue responds to single vehicle accident, RCMP investigate

Ron Clarke has his MBA and is owner of JBS Business Services in Trail, providing accounting and tax services.
COVID-19: How do you spell retirement?

Here’s a resolution some business owners may have made a few weeks ago, “I aspire to retire.”

Lauriente’s Clothing always made sure to have beautiful displays in the front window of their Rossland Avenue store. Photo: Trail Historical Society
Trail Blazers: Lauriente’s kept locals dressed in the finest fashion

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

Tim Schewe is a retired constable.
Drivesmart column: Passing on the right

If there is room for a driver or cyclist to squeeze through, they will do it.

Camp Koolaree’s wash house was crushed by a downed tree in last week’s windstorm. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay windstorm had trees crashing down on Camp Koolaree

To donate funds to help rebuild Camp Koolaree, residents can go to canadahelps.org

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

RCMP officers provide policing for 63 B.C. municipalities under a provincial formula based on population. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. communities warned of upcoming RCMP unionization costs

Starting salaries for city police officers are 30% higher

(Pxhere)
B.C. nurse suspended after using Tensor bandage to trap long-term care patient in room

Susan Malloch voluntarily agreed to a three-day suspension of her certificate of registration

Abbotsford’s Skully White (left), who donated his kidney in December, has started a campaign to find other recipients and donors. The first candidate is retired police officer Gavin Quon. White owns and operates a hotdog stand, Lullys Food Experience, out of the Abbotsford Canadian Tire parking lot. (Facebook photo)
After donating his kidney, Abbotsford hotdog king starts donor campaign

Skully White donated his kidney to customer Tim Hiscock in December

Most Read