School District No. 74 (Gold Trail) has received funding from the Ministry of Education to demolish the Clinton Elementary School building at 300 Smith Avenue, which closed in June 2010. The building has been sitting vacant since that time, and there are hopes that this move will bring the Clinton and District Assisted Living Society a major step closer to their goal of utilizing the school site for an assisted living facility.
Clinton chief administrative officer Tom Dall and Judy Hampton, chairperson of the society, both say that the presence of asbestos in the building meant that it could not be used for housing. “The cost of removing the asbestos would be high,” says Dall, noting that when Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for housing and deputy premier, visited the site he was blunt: “The building had to go.”
“It’s a big, big step that should help us out a lot,” says Hampton of the building’s forthcoming demolition. The society has been working for more than five years with CMHC, B.C. Housing, SD74, the Village of Clinton, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, First Nations, and local MLAs to move the project forward. The goal is to provide at least 10 units of affordable supportive seniors’ housing in Clinton, in a purpose-built facility on the former school property.
The society submitted a 160-page report outlining its plans to B.C. Housing in summer 2015. The original goal was to make it an assisted living facility, with health-care facilities on site, but that added cost made the proposal prohibitively expensive. Hampton would like to see assisted care added eventually, but the current proposal is for an affordable/supportive care facility similar to Thompson View Lodge in Ashcroft, with home support called in by residents as needed.
Hampton says that when Coleman was in Clinton last May, he was very supportive of the society’s efforts to get the facility built. She notes that these sorts of sites are needed in small communities. “We have to have these facilities before seniors have to leave our area to downsize or for proper care.”
Once the school building has been demolished, it is expected that the land will revert back to the Crown. The school district hopes to go to a tendering process for the demolition work as soon as possible. Once the contract is awarded, demolition of the school can proceed.