2017-03-08

Region of Queens sets stage for Mill Village school sale

by Michael Lee

  • <p>BRITTANY WENTZELL PHOTO</p><p>The former Mill Village school officially closed in 2014 and was declared surplus property by the Region of Queens Municipality in 2015.</p>

The Region of Queens Municipality is working with a non-profit society to convert the former Mill Village school into an international boarding school, but details about the organization and its plans remain largely unknown.

The region has been in discussions with a representative from the Devi International Boarding School Society for several months after being approached with a proposal for the vacant building.

After deliberating in a private meeting, council voted on February 28 to provide notice of its intent to enter into a purchase agreement with the society for a price of one dollar.

Mayor David Dagley applauded the society in a press release, calling the non-profit's plans to turn a municipally-owned property into a "vibrant, economic driver for the community" as "innovative thinking."

Students may come to Queens from out of province, or from different countries, said Dagley, which will require staff and create jobs in the process.

"Dollars that are spent in the community help the community and help Queens," said Dagley, adding that he expects the boarding school to be in operation by late 2018.

But details surrounding the non-profit society are limited. It is unknown exactly why it has chosen to locate in Mill Village or whether it is affiliated with any other international organizations.

A list of directors has not been provided to the region but Dagley said the society will be based in Nova Scotia.

A spokesperson from Service Nova Scotia said incorporation documents have not been received by the Registry of Joint Stock Companies as of March 2. However, the name Devi International Boarding School Society has been reserved.

The Registry of Joint Stock Companies lists Liverpool lawyer Christopher R.M. Folk as having made the request. Folk declined to comment for this story.

Dagley said council has not dealt with Folk and has instead been communicating with the society's local representative. He said staff have been unable to contact that person to determine who will be speaking on the society's behalf.

The Municipal Government Act requires a public hearing if a municipality sells a property to a non-profit organization at more than $10,000 less than market value.

The Mill Village school property is valued at $45,000 with the building, and $31,000 without it. Since the region has offered to sell the school for one dollar, a hearing will be held on March 28. The sale has not yet been approved by council.

"My requirement, as I am informed by staff, is all of the paperwork would need to be in order by that public hearing," said Dagley. "We will do our due diligence, rest assured of that."

When the school closed in 2014, the South Shore Regional School Board gave it back to the region, who later declared it a surplus property in 2015.

The 11,298-square-foot building sits on a property about 5.8 acres in size. The municipality spends nearly $10,000 each year on heating fuel, power and insurance.

The region has not received any other proposals for the school since it was shuttered.

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