By David F. Rooney
Don’t hold your breath if you are hoping to see some snappy new development on the site of the old Big Eddy School. Water quality issues involving the Big Eddy Water District (BEWD) are forcing School District 19 to put its planned sale of the property on hold for the foreseeable future.
SD 19 Superintendant Mike Hooker told the Board of Trustees that nothing can be done with the property until the BEWD accomplishes three tasks:
- A study of its groundwater source and how it is impacted by surface water;
- Provide plans showing pipe replacements that have been done; and
- Development of a plan — and the funding necessary — for improvements that will need to be done on aging wells, its reservoir and the distribution system.
“Clearly there are issues… that may hold up any subdivision plans by any developer for months, or potentially years,” Hooker said in a report to the board during its monthly meeting on Friday, March 14. “Considering the undetermined nature of the issue with the Big Eddy Water Works, we have updated our timelines to show no projection for approval of the subdivision, or anticipated approach to disposition of the lots.”
He noted that the holdup is a result of questions to the City in December from the Interior Health Authority about the safety of the BEWD water supply and sewage percolation. A spokesperson for the Big Eddy Water District was unavailable for comment on Friday afternoon.
While this stymies the district’s plans for the Big Eddy School site, its plans for the Mountain View School site are still viable. The district wants to see the demolition of everything but the original building. It would like to see the site redeveloped with a park and aa residential component.