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Greater Victoria school district invites final public input ahead of potential $2.5M land sale

Public can speak at Feb. 23 virtual meeting, decision on selling to Hospice expected Feb. 28
Kevin Harter, CEO of the Victoria Hospice Society, says the 1.9 acres they hope to purchase from the Greater Victoria School District is ideal for their purposes. In advance of a decision by SD61, the society has begun developing a conservation plan for the adjacent section of Bowker Creek. (Black Press Media file photo)

Spurred by ongoing community conversation, the Greater Victoria School District (SD61) hosts a special meeting Feb. 23 to hear more from the public ahead of a potential land sale.

SD61 proposes to sell 1.9 acres at the former Richmond elementary school site to the Victoria Hospice Society for $2.5 million. Concern for the protection and remediation of the daylighted segment of Bowker Creek that runs alongside the triangular piece of land at 2780 Richmond Rd. has been voiced by community members such as the Friends of Bowker Creek, and other community groups.

RELATED: Neighbours oppose land sale near daylighted Saanich leg of Bowker Creek

Last month representatives of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association and Victoria Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils also voiced opposition, citing waterway concerns and the disposal of educational lands in general.

The meeting is a response to feedback the district continues to receive from the public, board chair Ryan Painter said in a news release. “Our board values community input and is creating the space to hear from the public prior to us reaching a final decision.”

If approved, the property would be the site of a new Centre of Excellence for Victoria Hospice, with space for expanded services including grief support, community education and practical programs for people diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and the bereaved.

RELATED: Victoria Hospice targets creek remediation plan ahead of potential land purchase

The district said proceeds would help renovate and replace existing Greater Victoria schools.

The sale is subject to approval by the Ministry of Education and three readings of a land disposal bylaw by the SD61 board of education. In January, the board narrowly approved the first two readings with it expected before the board for potential adoption Feb. 28.

Those looking to speak must register with Vicki Hanley at by Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m. Each speaker is allotted three minutes.

The virtual meeting is Feb. 23 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the district’s YouTube channel.

RELATED: School board land sale for Victoria Hospice clears first hurdles

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