West Kelowna  

Land next to aquatic centre proposed for new high school

SD23 eyes WFN land

Westbank First Nation membership will get a chance to weigh in on a proposal which could see a new high school built on reserve land adjacent to the Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre.

Castanet News has learned a referendum will be held Jan. 21 to get members feedback on the potential lease of the property to the district.

The referendum question asks, in part, "do you support leasing a portion of lot 472...which shall not exceed 12 acres for a value of not less than $1 million per acre, to School District 23 for a term of up to 125 years for the purpose of construction and operation by SD23 of a secondary school facility and other educational uses?"

The land in question is immediately to the south of the aquatic centre.

A special membership meeting to update recent developments between the band and SD23 will be held Dec. 1.

The district has been looking for a location for a new high school on the Westside for some time, and earlier this year, received the go ahead from the province to acquire property for that purpose.

Earlier this summer, district secretary-treasurer Ryan Stierman told Castanet land availability on the Westside is "scarce," and the district was investigating a number of options.

In an interview for this story, Stierman says the school district is continuing to explore its options, including the current Weber Road elementary school site.

But he said that site poses "significant challenges.

As for the WFN property, he says things still need to be worked out.

One of those is the province agreeing to allow the district to enter into a long-term lease as opposed to a straight land sale.

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