Police have determined the fire at the Hornby Island school is now suspicious in nature. Photo by Shelia Morissette/Twitter. A charge of arson has now been laid in the fire at the Hornby Island Community School. Photo by Shelia Morissette/Twitter.

Arson charge laid in Hornby Island school fire

25-year-old male makes first court appearance

One person has been charged with arson in relation to a fire at the Hornby Island Community School.

According to Const. Monika Terragni, media relations spokesperson at the Comox Valley RCMP, a 25-year-old male was charged in relation to the incident on Aug. 26, which destroyed a large part of the school. The suspect, whose name is under a publication ban, made his first court appearance Tuesday, Sept. 4 in Courtenay.

The accused had a judicial interim release (bail) hearing at Courtenay provincial court Tuesday afternoon and was granted a release.

Last week, Comox Valley RCMP confirmed the fire was suspicious in nature and they identified a person of interest in connection.

School District 71 Superintendent Dean Lindquist did not comment on the arrest itself, saying the focus of the school district has always been ensuring the needs of the displaced students are met.

“Our priority has been and will continue to be on taking care of our students and supporting the families and the community,” he said in a written statement. “Our first order of business was to find a suitable short-term location immediately so that students would not be delayed in starting their school year (Tuesday).”

A short-term solution for the students was reached last week.

“On Aug. 30th, we met on Hornby Island with parents and members of the community to discuss our immediate plan to deliver education programs at Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Centre and share with the public the options we are developing for the short and long term, thereafter.

“In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue our contingency planning to ensure the continuity of educational programs for students on Hornby Island. As the plan develops and decisions are made, we will notify parents/guardians and the community immediately, sharing details of the next steps.”

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