Errington Elementary School driveway project on hold

Qualicum School District 69 awaits approval from the Ministry of Education

Work on a proposed $200,000 driveway and turnaround improvement project at Errington Elementary School remains stalled as School District 69 awaits approval from the province and the Ministry of Education, the Board of Education learned last week at its regular monthly meeting in Parksville.

The $200,000 capital project, designed to alleviate congestion in the dead-end approach to the new Errington School, was approved by trustees in April. But it is dependent upon a land swap of Crown Land, with the district returning land at the old school site for access to property adjacent to the new school.

“It depends when the government finishes their process,” board chair Eve Flynn said in response to a question from the audience during the June 28 meeting. “They’re still out doing what we have almost mirrored in talking to First Nations, neighbours, posting signs declaring our intent and interest. The last step is getting approval from the ministry and crown land to say, yes, you can do it.”

Flynn cautioned that even if approval is forthcoming soon, the Island’s Level 4 drought status may make it impossible to log trees slated for removal in the project.

“It’s sort of a domino effect of nature, weather, government and really, we just have to go with it when it happens,” said Flynn.

Reserve fund tapped

The board agreed to use up to $300,000 from the district’s operating surplus to cover a shortfall in funding for ongoing boiler replacement projects at Bowser and Nanoose Bay elementary schools and to support IT infrastructure upgrades at five school sites.

The shortfall on the three boiler projects was only $98,174 of the request. But secretary-treasurer Ron Amos said approving the surplus draw at this time, with support from the Annual Facilities Grant, could shorten the planned $850,000 IT infrastructure upgrade to five years.