School District #83 is moving forward with plans to build a new school board office on the former site of the JL Jackson school.
The district is also proceeding with plans to help attract developers.
Monday’s meeting of the city’s planning and development services committee entertained a rezoning application from the school board to change the land that is now commonly known as ‘the Safeway fields’ from P3, institutional zone, to C2, town commercial zone.
In a background report, city staff explain there is no development plan proposed along with the rezoning application, but an application to subdivide the property from two to four lots has been made.
The net area of the property, considering road dedication, is 4.8 hectares. It is bounded by First Avenue SW, Third Street SW and Shuswap Street.
The largest part of the property is the one the school board has been marketing unsuccessfully.
Sterling Olson, the school district’s secretary-treasurer, explains the property is currently two parcels.
The school board would like to subdivide the largest parcel into three, making a total of four parcels.
The largest parcel, once subdivided, would house the SASCU Downtown Activity Centre, a new 22,000- square-foot school board office, and a parcel for future development, he said.
“We will do joint use with the city until someone leases, purchases or develops it,” Olson said.
The school board’s proposals to extract a revenue stream from the property in order to support district education programs began in 2006, with an application to rezone the northern three-quarters of the site from institutional to town centre. It was turned down by council, in response to public opposition.
More recently the site has been eyed as the home of a performing arts centre and a community college development.
A letter from the school board attached to the rezoning application states that the institutional zoning is seen as a significant barrier to development by commercial developers.
City staff have recommended approval of the rezoning because town centre commercial zone is consistent with the official community plan.
The application will come before city council for first reading on Sept. 9.