Dear Members and Supporters,
I am disappointed to announce that the Blockhouse School Project is coming to an end. The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg have given us until October 18th to vacate the property. The barriers to success overcame the vision. We are told MODL is planning to tear down the school soon.
The Blockhouse School was initially built by the municipality. The school was given to the province with the stipulation that it given back to the community when the Department of Education was finished with it so as not to lose the asset.
When the Department of Education no longer had need for the school, it was returned to the municipality, but due to its condition, it is now considered a liability. This building still has tremendous potential to become an economic and social hub for the community, but only if council can be persuaded to spend its funds on renovation, rather than demolition, which is expected to cost at least $150,000 of taxpayers’ dollars.
Regardless of what the future holds, much was learned from this experience. The project provided significant opportunities for individuals, small business and local organizations over the three short years of its existence. Some students of the Permaculture Design courses have already successfully gone into commercial food production. Mi’kmaw language renewal blossomed at the Blockhouse site. The collaborative Hinchinbrook Farm/Mahone Bay Farmers Market “We Dig Food” garden therapy bloomed and thrived here as well. Artists and craftspeople made and displayed new work, local young musicians jammed, and the famous recycled book-wall made the pages of a professional international library journal as well as a nationally distributed textbook for young people. We ate fabulous celebratory meals, danced, shared skills and wisdom, gardened, dribbled basketballs and built a Tiny Studio.
It is challenging to fit a creative project within the restraints of government regulation. Success can only be achieved through effective communication and collaboration between the project managers and those on the government side. Unfortunately, sufficient collaboration was not developed in this instance.
We dreamed big, but bit off more than we could chew…it would have been a shame not to have tried.
Ultimately, we would like to say thank you to the many people who gave time, energy and resources to this project. The experiences that were created will never be torn down.
Ann Bromley for the Directors of SSSVC, past and present.