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Thirty-day demolition notice issued for former primary school

The old primary school building in Clarenville.
The old primary school building in Clarenville. - Jonathan Parsons

Town of Clarenville has safety concerns related to vacant building

CLARENVILLE, N.L.—The Town of Clarenville has issued a 30-day demolition notice for the former primary school building on Pleasant Street.

After consulting with the Newfoundland and Labrador School English School District (NLESD) and the government on the issue, council unanimously passed a motion at the Tuesday, Sept. 11 meeting to give the 30-day notice.
“This building has been there a long time, it’s a bit of an eyesore, it poses some safety concerns,” said Coun. John Pickett at the meeting. “Which is really the reason why we should move with the demolition sooner (rather) than later.

“This might be a disaster up there waiting to happen. The sooner we get it down, the safer it is for our town.”

Chief administrative officer David Harris provided further details on the decision at the meeting.

He says Mayor Frazer Russell, Terra Nova MHA Colin Holloway and himself had a phone meeting with NLESD officials before making the decision.

He says they were told there were a number of issues pertaining to the ownership of the property and land.

“The land is owned by the United Church of Canada, the building is owned by the school district,” explained Harris. He adds that there’s a restrictive covenant from the Crown Lands grant which requires the land to be used for religious use only, which complicates matters.

“School district is telling us in order for them to auction off or tender off that property, they will need clear title of that land, obviously to sell the building.”

Harris says they haven’t received cooperation from the United Church in turning over the land to the school district — which is the main reason the building has been in limbo for many years in disrepair.

Harris says since resolving this issue with the church is not a short-term solution, and given the current condition of the building, combined with how long the building has been left in this state, they decided to issue the demolition order.

Mayor Russell says the motion at the council meeting was a way of expediting the lengthy process which has been at a standstill.

“I think that it will finally get things moving at the speed we want things moving,” said Russell.

The school district is aware of this action, and will have 30-days to comply with the order. This includes presenting a plan to council on how they will remove the building.

It is at the town’s discretion after the 30 days, if not satisfied with the efforts to do so, to demolish the building and bill the owners for the cost.

Twitter: @jejparsons

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