Blueberry Community School Society Community Liason Rebecca McDonnell (L) and Coordinator Alana Medeiros flank Mayor Lawrence Chernoff on May 24 at the Blueberry facility.

Blueberry school society steps out

City of Castlegar steps up in support of Community-based organization

  • May. 27, 2013 10:00 a.m.

Existing in a facility which has long been operated by School District #20, the Blueberry Community School Society is testing it’s wings with a freshly signed three-year lease on the former elementary school in the district at the far south end of the City of Castlegar. The civic government has expressed moral as well as financial support for the venture, and did so at the annual Blueberry Community Barbecue held May 24.

The society’s goal is to continue with ongoing programs at the building centrally located in the Blueberry Creek district, and expand the amount of use of the facility.

The plan is to welcome more events, and set up a commercial-grade kitchen as well, all in the effort to be a sustainable, ongoing entity for children and other members of the area.

“This is something the community really needs,” said Mayor Chernoff in the packed gymnasium. “Without this we’d be in big trouble. When new people come to the community this is what they’re looking for. This centre, with these ladies taking this over, to me, that’s the greatest move. It had to come, the way the funding is in the school system. You can’t measure the value of what this facility does for the community.”

“Blueberry has gone through some transition in the last year,” said the society’s board chair Arleen Gallo after expressing “extreme gratitude to the City of Castlegar for a $10,000 donation. “We’re at a stage now where we’re moving from being funded by the school district to starting to take care of ourselves. The next phase is going to be really important. We’re going to need a lot of operational support from the community as we move forward with that.”

The society’s venture is fully encouraged by the board of School District #20, whose chair Darrell Ganzert commented on May 27:

“There was a bit of controversy from the board, but in the end it was a unanimous decision to enter into the lease agreement we have. We certainly wish them all the best. We believe they’ve got a plan that will lead them to great deal of success.”

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