We need to find a good use for Chase annex

Two years ago, School District 73 decided to close the Annex because of a decrease in student population. This building, previously a primary school in Chase, is a building with endless opportunity that sits empty.

Since its closure, the school has sat empty due to a multitude of factors, including: inflated rental prices set by the school district; a lack of leadership within the community to take on the building; and an unwillingness to negotiate by both the school district and the community of Chase.

The primary reasons that the Annex has remained empty are due to the school district's outrageous rental costs and an unwillingness to negotiate. The cost of renting the building for a year is over $100,000, or roughly a thousand dollars per room, per month.

In a small community such as Chase, that price makes it impossible for a business or organization to rent it. Currently the building is minimally heated and checked on regularly by a custodian. It would be unrealistic to expect that the building could be lent, free of charge to the community or an organization.

It is also understandable that the school district must be compensated for the money spent to maintain the building, but the costs are extravagantly high, much higher than necessary to simply maintain the building. Let me remind you that the school district is controlled and funded by the province of British Columbia. If the money for this building essentially comes from the government of B.C. then the money is coming from the taxpayers of B.C., including the people of Chase.

Therefore, the community members of Chase are already paying for this building through their taxes.

In a situation like this it is easy to place the blame solely on the school district, when this is not the case. The Village of Chase needs to take responsibility for a building that is rightfully theirs and put it to good use.

The building was built in 1942 to accommodate a growing population with the opening of the Adams Lake Mill. As one of the oldest buildings in Chase, it is an important piece of infrastructure in Chase. Leadership is needed within the community to take on this building and bring to life all the opportunity it could produce. It is an ideal location for programs, classes and organizations that would spark community growth.

Fitness classes could held for all ages, while many of the rooms could be used by organizations such as the Miss Chase Excellence Program that promotes growth for the young women of Chase. These are just two examples of ways the building could be used that would be constructive for the Village of Chase.

Something that is taught to us as children by both the schools and the communities we live in is that working together is the most beneficial way to overcome an obstacle. The school district and community of Chase need to work together toward an agreement that would then, in turn, formulate a use for this building from which both parties could benefit.

MICHELLE DAVIES

Chase

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