Summerland council voices opposition to school closure

Summerland’s mayor and councillors have spoken out against the proposed closure of Giant’s Head School.

Summerland’s mayor and councillors have spoken out against the proposed closure of Giant’s Head School.

The school closure is among nine options considered by the Okanagan Skaha School Board in an effort to trim costs.

“Mayor (Peter) Waterman and council do not support the closure of any school in Summerland,” a statement from the municipality reads. “A loss of a school facility is not consistent with our priorities for the future of Summerland which focus on economic health, encouraging development of land to increase available housing options, and the promotion of Summerland as a highly attractive community for families.”

The statement adds that the school enrolment projections from the school district do not match municipal council’s vision for growth. Waterman said there are housing developments which have been approved and others which are in the process of receiving council approval. These include Hunters Hill and several developments in Trout Creek.

Linda Van Alphen, chair of the school board, said the board has discussed the problem of declining enrolment numbers.

“While mayor and council have a vision for Summerland, this vision has yet to have an impact on declining enrolments. Should they have immediate solutions to address the current issues that the board faces, we would be happy to meet with them to consider/discuss them,” said Alphen.

The school board has held a series of public meetings to discuss the various school closure options. Written submissions will be accepted until Jan. 10.

At the school board meeting on Jan. 20, school trustees will decide which schools, if any, will be closed.