Demolition of Wildwood Elementary School began this week, much to the surprise of local residents.
“It’s sad,” said Randy Gertzen who has lived across from the school for more than 30 years. “Both my daughters attended that school.”
Gertzen said on Sunday evening the demolition company arrived with equipment and the work began on Monday.
“I think people were really surprised because we were hoping the Wildwood Association could take the building over or something like that. There have been a lot of people stopping to take photos.”
The Cariboo Regional District had been working with School District 27 and the Wildwood Community Association in regards to transferring the former Wildwood Elementary building over to the Association for the community’s use, said CRD Area D director Steve Forseth.
“However, the school district said that they could not do so as the site was declared surplus to the school district’s needs, which meant the land needed to be returned to its previous state of bare land.”
Forseth is currently attempting to meet with staff from the B.C. Ministries of Education and Community, Sport and Cultural Development at next month’s Union of BC Municipalities Convention in Victoria to discuss steps to transfer the vacant land and the currently installed playground equipment back to the Wildwood Community Association for use by the community.
Wildwood Elementary School was temporarily closed by School District 27 due to flooding and mould issues in April 2015, and then permanently closed a few months later.
Larry Lansall, a foreman with Napp Enterprises Ltd. of Prince George, said the demolition is expected to last another week and a half, with his four-man crew.
The asbestos that was inside the building has already removed and is wrapped in tubes outside the school building.
That work required his workers to wear protective gear, now they are just wearing masks because of the dust, Lansall added.
A request for an interview has been sent to School District 27 so watch for updates on the story.