Malakwa is two steps closer to a permanent community centre.
Columbia Shuswap Regional District directors supported recommendations to move forward with the process of acquiring the Malakwa School facility and develop a draft Community Property Acquisition Policy.
Area E Rural Sicamous director Rhona Martin says a report prepared by Suda Management was well-done and well-received.
“Dave Morris (of Suda) presented the report and thinks it’s a worthwhile project,” said Martin Friday. “Part of that was putting forward a suggested policy because we don’t have a policy for taking over other people’s agencies.”
Following closure of the school by School District #83 in 2010, the Malakwa Community Centre Association leased the building using $150,000 from the electoral area’s Economic Opportunity Fund as seed money – money that has been used up.
The facility currently houses the Malakwa Learning Academy, Eagle Valley Community Resource Centre, post office, school, pottery classes and they just started having drop-in floor hockey for the kids about six weeks ago, says Martin.
A number of potential community uses and opportunities were expressed at a meeting with current users of the building:
• Expanded student base – currently limited by transportation
• Okanagan Community College – need for community learning programs
• Community garden
• Transportation – link with school busing.
Feedback Suda acquired from the school district officials indicated an appreciation of the facility’s value to the community and the potential for a long-term lease arrangement, although they would rather sell the property.
Martin says the next step will be to take the matter to Area E residents in a referendum to be held at the end of September.
“We will be going to the public to ask them if they would be willing fund the centre,” she says. “We’ll have to make sure we have accurate information to go out to the public first.”