Thanks to a petition with more than 520 signatures, Crofton residents have let it be known that they want to see the old Crofton Elementary School building demolished.

It’s seen by many as more than just a derelict building. Many see it as a safety concern because of drug use, vandalism, fires, and used needles in the area.

Shannon Carlow spearheaded the creation of a petition to get the provincial government to tear down the building and Dan Robin, who worked with Carlow on this campaign said, last year, School District 79 didn’t do enough to protect Crofton residents.

“A notice by WorkSafe BC stated that nobody was to enter the building for any reason, as it had become unsafe,” said Robin. “Between the known asbestos content in the building and now, mould, and rot, last year, School District 79 condemned the structure and left it with no future plan.”

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley said, due to inaction, the previous Liberal government endangered the lives of students.

“We have kids in buildings that are not safe and we’re years and years behind because so little was done in the last decade, in terms of seismically upgrading dangerous schools,” said Routley. “We’re not ignoring the fact that there were a lot of schools closed and left derelict, with a number of them posing significant hazards to communities.”

Robin explains the idea of this petition.

“It was the brainchild Shannon Carlow to start a petition for citizens to sign, to remove the structures, which the province is now responsible for, demolish it, and release the $650,000 dollars needed to remove and revitalize the site,” said Robin.

Routley says his job is to get the province to make the demolition and re-development a high priority for the government.

“Having an appropriate place on the priority list on projects the province has undertaken,” said Routley. “My job is to push it up as high and as quickly as possible.”

It’s expected that Routley will present this petition in the legislature next month.

Old Crofton Elementary closed its doors in March 2009.