By David Judd
Norfolk County wants to buy the former Doverwood School.
The county has not decided what it would do with the school building on Highway 6 on the east side of Port Dover.
Its immediate interest is in the property’s 14 acres, which will help serve as a buffer when the town’s sewage treatment facility next door expands in a few years.
County councillors at a special meeting on April 1 unanimously voted to negotiate buying the school from the Grand Erie District School Board.
Doverwood has been vacant since pupils moved last fall to the new Lakewood School in the former high school building downtown.
If the county and school board agree on a price, the sale should be wrapped up by autumn, Port Dover Coun. John Wells said in an interview.
It makes sense for the county to twin the property with the sewage treatment facility next door, he said.
The county has budgeted $8 million to expand the treatment plant by 2020.
The enlarged facility must be a distance away from neighbours who might complain about odours.
The county currently does not want the Doverwood property developed for housing.
Odour is an occasional problem at Doverwood, said Coun. Wells, a former teacher at the school for 13 years.
The county hopes the enlarged sewage treatment facility will end odours.
The county also wants to protect the Lions Club’s investment in the new ball diamond at Doverwood.
The Lions spent around $100,000 moving the diamond to the school.
The diamond had been near the arena. Lions moved it to make way for a proposed medical centre.
The county’s purchase of Doverwood would protect its diamond from having to move again.
Visitors to Friday the 13th sometimes camp at the school property.
Retired Port Dover firefighter Tom Myerscough was quick off the mark last Tuesday in asking county council to consider Doverwood as the home for the proposed Community and Children’s Safety Village.
Creating the village would cost between $2.5 million and $2.75 million.
Operating it would cost $125,000 a year paid through sponsorships.
Organizers have been looking at a site in Haldimand but Doverwood would be ideal, Mr. Myerscough said.
A miniature village to teach childen traffic safety would take up four acres.
Indoor instruction would occupy six classrooms and an office.
It would be “dandy” if a seniors centre also located in the school, Mr. Myerscough said.
Safety is for all ages, he told reporters.
Doverwood School was built in 1967.
It’s not known how much it would cost to renovate it for a safety village, Mr. Myerscough said.
Sharing the building with seniors or other groups would be a win-win situation, he said.
“We want the building used all the way through.”
Posted: April 8, 2014