By Tina Comeau
It turns out the Tri-County Regional School Board may have been too generous when it approved a motion in early June to turn the empty Yarmouth Junior High School building on Parade Street over to the town.
That’s because, the board’s director of operations now says, the building is actually owned by the province.
At its June 5 meeting the Tri-County Regional School Board approved a motion to turn over the junior high school building to the town at a date to be determined. When school buildings become vacant, and if a school board does not require the building, it is standard process to revert the building back to the municipal unit.
But Steve Stoddart says although the school board had been told that every school building pre-1981 is owned by the municipal unit, he recently looked into the ownership of the junior high building.
“That used to be a vocational school so I had it checked out and it actually belongs to the Department of Education,” he says. “So we have to do a notice of motion in September because we can’t turn it back to the town, it has to be turned back to the department.”
It will be up to the department to choose what it does with the building, Stoddart says. An option, he says, still could be to turn it over to the town.
Although the Town of Yarmouth had not received official notice from the school board about its intentions concerning the building, at its June meeting town council did discuss the issue and looked at the possibility of striking a committee to explore possible future uses and options for the building. However, some councillors expressed concern over the issue, saying they don’t want the building, if it were turned over to the town, to be a financial drain.
The town has expressed concern about the gymnasium at the school, saying it is a valuable community asset.