The Interior News has learned that the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have acquired Lake Kathlyn Elementary School (LKES).
In a Feb. 20 media release the office said the space would be used as a “new seat of government” for the Wet’suwet’en nation.
The Interior News has reached out to the office for clarification on how the space will be used.
Possession of ownership will begin in June 2020. The office said that it wants to make sure families which use the Bright Beginnings Daycare which currently operates out of the building feel welcome during the transition and that the business will remain until its lease expires in June 2021.
“Childcare plays an important role in our community as does the relationship we create and maintain,” the release said.
Bright Beginnings daycare previously told The Interior News it had put in a bid to buy the school but it was unsuccessful in securing the building.
Beyond that, the daycare said they are currently looking for a building and outdoor space that can accommodate the approximately 150 families and 19 staff members that use the service.
“Although it is sad to see the building has sold, we are hopeful that this change will bring good opportunities for us as a growing business,” the daycare said.
The Bulkley Valley School District 54 board of trustees voted 6-0 to close Lake Kathlyn at the end of June 2016.
The 11.64-acre property, located at 7620 Highway 16, was listed in mid-January for an asking price of $1.1 million.
That’s a hefty reduction from the assessed value of $1.57 million for the property, but as SD54 secretary treasurer Dave Margerm told The Interior News property assessments are just one method used for assessing property values.
He added the school requires over $1 million in upgrades over the next few years and that SD54 cannot receive Ministry of Education funding for these upgrades as the school has been closed.
Our district’s history of valuing schools for sale has shown there can be quite a variation from property tax assessment and the actual assessed value,” Margerm said.
According to Margerm the decision to sell was influenced by recent provincial contributions to support the new Walnut Park Elementary School rebuild capital project
“This has created a financial imperative for the Board to consider disposing property in order to fund the new school rebuild and other capital projects,” said Margerm.