The school board’s decision to close Trout Creek Elementary School is disappointing, but when the numbers are considered, it’s not surprising.
The elementary school has the capacity for 277 students, but its enrolment at present is 182.
The school is at less than two-thirds of its capacity. This is a significant shortfall.
Furthermore, the school board’s calculations do not call for much change in the enrolment figures at that school or others within the Okanagan Skaha School District.
Members of municipal council disagree with the school board’s decision and Mayor Peter Waterman has stated that the Trout Creek neighbourhood is experiencing growth.
There are 72 building lots on the market at present and there is the potential for another 75 to come onto the market in the future.
However, while there is interest in the developments at present, it is important to remember these will be expensive homes. The cheapest will start at around $500,000 and the waterfront properties will top $1 million.
Homes in this price range will appeal more to well-established couples than to young families.
While there are some young families with the means to purchase the homes coming onto the market in Trout Creek, they will be the exception, not the rule.
Even if the 72 building lots on the market in Trout Creek all sell quickly, it is doubtful if this would result in a significant growth in the number of children in elementary school living in the area.
There’s nothing wrong with having upscale housing in Trout Creek. It’s part of the appeal and character of that area, and those who live in Trout Creek appreciate the unique quality of their neighbourhood.
However, it is important to understand that the real estate market will affect the demographics of the area.
Trout Creek today is not the same as in earlier decades. The closure of the school is a sign of this changing reality.