Recommendation made to sell former River John School
Pictou County council has recommended that the River John School be put up for sale.
But there is a catch. It wants to see the prospective owner’s business plan for the building so it does not become just another vacant building in the community.
The recommendation was brought forth after staff acknowledged the lease with the River John Action Society will expire the end of June and the building will be vacant. The county spent $50,000 in 20142015 to cover the cost of heat, lights and snow clearing and an additional $35,000 to date this year.
Council said in the past that the action society won’t be taking it over mainly due to the overall size of the building as well as existing halls in the community that can be used for activities.
The land the building sits on was donated to the municipality two decades ago by the MacGregor family for the purpose of building a school and will continue to be the property of the municipality.
“We are seeking direction on what the next step is,” asked CAO Brian Cullen.
“Do we offer it for sale or repurposing proposals or are we letting the lease expire and tearing it down? What is the next logical step?”
Coun. Ron Baillie said he doesn’t want to see the school demolished, but he also wants it dealt with properly. He said if it is sold to someone at a low price, they could own the building, remove what they wanted and still leave it standing for the county to take down.
If it is left vacant and standing by the municipality, it will also cause hardship because the county will get calls from people wanting to use it for certain events and this will not be possible.
“The last thing the community needs is for that building to sit in derelict decision,” said Warden Robert Parker. “It does need a set price and a plan. If something going to happen we need to know and have confidence it will be a good thing for the community.”