Vacant schools sold for housing

Monteray elementary school 

Last week the District of North Vancouver voted to rezone the site of the vacant Monteray elementary school to make way for 12 single-family homes.

The 1.17-hectare property was sold to Morningstar Development, an affiliate of Vancouver-based Polygon, in 2013 for $6.38 million.

District Mayor Richard Walton, said the sale reflects the changing demographics of the area since the facility was first built 50 years ago.

Walton said it’s unlikely a demand for a school in the expensive residential neighbourhood at the foot of Grouse Mountain would arise in the future, as there are too few children left in the area.

Last year, Anthem Properties paid $5 million for a half-hectare former North Vancouver school site near Lonsdale Avenue.

According to B.C.’s Finance Ministry, 18 school properties around the province sold in the past year. A similar number are still on the market, awaiting buyers or long-term lessees.

In Richmond, Polygon paid $41 million for five hectares that once housed Steveston secondary. The company intends to build townhouses on three hectares, with two hectares committed to parkland.

The Sooke school district sold an 8.5-hectare site, previously Belmont secondary, to Sobeys for $23 million. The grocery giant is planning a mixed-use development on the site.

School enrollment in B.C. fell 11.6% from 2001 to 2014, a drop of more than 70,000 students, according to B.C. government figures.