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A group of parents opposes the sale of former Richmond school land to a hospice society, citing the environment

A group of parents opposes the sale of former Richmond school land to a hospice society, citing the environment

A parent group is asking for a halt on the sale of land in the Greater Victoria School District to the Victoria Hospice Society. The Society wants to build a new facility. The district may reach an agreement to sell.

A parents’ group is calling for a halt to the sale of Greater Victoria School District land to the Victoria Hospice Society, which wants to build a new facility on the property.

The district has a potential agreement to sell .08 hectares of land adjacent to the south campus of Lansdowne Middle School — formerly Richmond Elementary School — to Hospice for $2.5 million.

The parcel is a triangle-shaped parcel that is separated from the school building. The remaining 2.5 hectares are protected by a stand tree.

However, the Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils is not only concerned with the sale of land in a district but also with the possibility of building in an adjacent area to Bowker Creek.

“It’s not that we don’t think the Hospice is a worthy organization — of course it is,” said VCPAC president Angela Carmichael. “We really need to be careful about starting to dig and build on ecologically sensitive areas.”

She stated that she is sensitive to Hospice’s current location in an old facility. It has been part the community for more than 40 years and has a space in the Royal Jubilee Hospital Precinct.

The Hospice plan is to use the school district site for a new centre for excellence, with ­services that include grief ­support, community education and other programs for patients and their families.

The school board says it won’t be considering the matter until the new year.

Kim Morris, Secretary-treasurer, stated that the board made the decision to delay after receiving a report on the engagement process. This was in accordance with Ministry of Education requirements.

“Whenever we have a proposed land disposal, through our communications department we reach out for input and feedback,” Morris said. “It’s a lot of information, we received a lot of correspondence, so I think the board just wanted more time to consider its decision.”

Chief executive Kevin Harter has said the demand for Hospice programs is growing and it must “adapt and expand.”

He stated that the agreement with district is an important part in being able to do this.

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The report to the board contained both positive feedback and negative feedback.

One commenter stated that the money raised by the sale will be used to improve schools in the district. Hospice is a worthy cause. “Any of us who have experienced the care Hospice has provided for our loved ones will understand how crucial this service is.”

Another respondent called for more consultation, saying: “The restoration of Bowker Creek as a healthy riparian ecosystem has deep commitments within the community.”

An earlier land sale of about three hectares on the grounds of the south campus of Lansdowne Middle School will allow the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Columbie Britannique — B.C.’s French-language school district — to build a new French-language school.

jbell@timescolonist.com

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