Residents of Port Edward have access to the old school gymnasium once again.
The gymnasium in the old school fell out of use once students transitioned to the new school in January 2013.
Councillor James Brown campaigned for access as a way to keep kids off the street and more involved in sports and club activities. He said that after the school closed the clubs died off, mainly because the gym in the newer school has a low roof and isn’t conducive for playing basketball. The older gym has a higher roof and a stage.
“We built champions out of that gym over the years and I’d sure like to see community unity if we can bring out people,” Brown said. He’s also hoping the stage will inspire acting clubs or even future school dances like there were in the 1960s.
“We had the option to raise the roof (of the new school) but it comes down to money,” Port Edward Mayor Dave MacDonald said.
The old school is currently being rented out to Pacific NorthWest LNG for office space on the top floors. After the District negotiated with the company the two parties decided to install back-door access enabling residents to use the gym and bathrooms, but not the rest of the building, with a price tag of $5,000. Council passed a motion Jan. 12 to re-open the gym the following day. Users will have to bring their own equipment and insurance will be under the same low-risk activity coverage as parks in the District.
Brown wants to see the clubs come back to Port Edward again. “I would like to see the youth start using it.”